THE EFFECTS OF BANANA XANTHOMONAS WILT (BXW) ON FOOD SECURITY AND THE PEOPLE'S LIVELIHOOD: The Case of Nshamba and Rubale Divisions in Kagera Region, Tanzania

By:

Yusto P. Muchuruza
Kagera Development and Credit Revolving Fund (KADETFU)
and

Hance R. Melchior
Centre for Development Initiatives (CDI)

Foreword by Hon. Prof. Anna Kajumulo TIBAIJUKA

bananaSince late 2000s the majority of communities in Kagera region have been affected by Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), the banana disease known as “Mnyauko” which has consequently jeopardized assurance of food security and people’s livelihood at both family and community level. In recognition of its threat, last year (2012) the government authorities in Kagera region declared BXW a national disaster which needs immediate interventions. This study is the contribution to the initiatives of the region in trying to raise community awareness on the symptoms, mode of spread and effects of the disease to their livelihoods and sensitization on the measures to curb its spread.

In this regard, Kagera Development Trust Fund (KADETFU) and Centre for Development Initiatives (CDI) conducted this study whose goal was to assess the effects of BXW on food security and income to the community, including farmers in the Region. The study used a sample of Nshamba and Rubale divisions of Muleba and Bukoba Rural Districts respectively. I believe the observations from the sample reasonably reflect the situation and effects of BXW on both the food security and people’s livelihood.

I also believe that this study has been conducted at the right time when our country and the international community are trying to address BXW in a comprehensive way in order to control and possibly eradicate it. The study as well encourages the government to formulate policies and strategies to address the disease. I anticipate that the recommendations of the study will motivate the public and private agencies, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC), international agencies as well as development partners to collaborate and join hands in curbing the disease for sustainable livelihoods in Kagera region and elsewhere in the country and the world at large.

It is also my hope that the contributions of the authors in this study will provide the essential additions to the debate and dialogue on BXW, as well as assist in creating new approaches of curbing BXW effects on food security and livelihoods of the communities and thus improving the living conditions of people. At the invitation of His Excellency President Kaguta Mseveni, in December 2011, I took a group of 140 farmers from Muleba to Uganda for an agricultural study tour to learn how our neighbors were coping with the challenge of BXW. We learnt a lot but above all that cultural practices must be followed strictly. I urge the readers of this book to adopt the recommendations and to recognize and take on their own responsibility in combating the disease. Finally no amount of external assistance shall help if we do not play our part.

I thank you all and congratulate the Authors who are responsible for the facts and views in this study.

Hon. Prof. Anna Kajumulo TIBAIJUKA

Member of Parliament for Muleba South, Kagera region

Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development

United Republic of Tanzania

Retired UN Under-Secretary General and Immediate former Executive Director, UNHABITAT

Dar es Salaam; September 2013


Abstract

Banana is the major staple food crop in Tanzania and in other countries of the East African Great Lakes region. Kagera Region is one of the most banana producing regions in Tanzania and banana production is the most important staple food for over two million people in the region. Banana crop is also the source of income for millions of people in this region. Despite the significance of banana in the region for food security and the farmers’ income and livelihoods, the crop has been mostly threatened by the Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) which has lead to great losses of banana production in the region. BXW is currently the most destructive emergent disease in Tanzania which may cause up to 100% plantation loss if no management and control measures are employed.

The study generally aimed to assess the effects of the BXW on food security and income of the farmers in Nshamba and Rubale divisions of Muleba and Bukoba Rural Districts respectively in Kagera Region, Tanzania. Specifically the study intended to (a) identify economic activities performed by the people in the study area; (b) examine the farmers’ awareness of the BXW and its management and control measures in the study area; and (c) assess the effects of the BXW on food security and the income of rural community members. A cross-sectional research design was employed and both purposive and simple random techniques were used to select a sample of 360 farmers. As for data collection, the structured questionnaire was used. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis were employed. The quantitative data were analyzed by using the Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) (Version 16).

The majority of the respondents that were interviewed reported farming as their main activity. The study found that before the outbreak of BXW banana production was 356,545 bunches per annum; while after the outbreak of BXW the production has decreased to only 50,800 bunches (16.6%). This therefore implies that about 84% of banana production is lost per annum in the study area. It was also revealed that as production decreases, the price of banana bunches increases. The income from banana in the study area has dwindled from TZS. 801, 656,000/= to 307,034,248/= (38.3%) after the outbreak of BXW in the study area. This implies that TZS. 494,621,752 (61.7%) of the farmers’ income is lost annually in the Region. Therefore, immediate intervention measures should be taken to reduce the effects of the disease to the community in order to improve their livelihoods.

The study also found that the majority of the respondents (about 87%) are currently getting only one meal per day as compared to the previous years before the outbreak of BXW when they could afford to get three meals daily. This implies food insecurity for the majority of the farmer households; and immediate control measures are required to remedy the situation. The study concluded that banana production has declined significantly leading to food insecurity, malnutrition and loss of income of the rural community members in the study area. The study recommends that the government should recruit extension officers in the study area and elsewhere in Kagera region in order to create awareness and sensitization to the farmers on the spread, management and control measures of the disease. The study also recommends that strategies developed and validated in Uganda should be replicated in the study area, Kagera Region as well as other regions of Tanzania for proper management and control of the BXW.

Moreover, the study recommends that the government should establish strategies to empower farmers and other key stakeholders with capacity, knowledge and skills needed to control the disease alongside the efforts of other state and non-state actors. The government and all actors in banana production areas should be advised to execute comprehensive strategies and enforce legislations pertaining to agricultural diseases control and management. The government should recruit more agricultural extension officers, and the farmers should be encouraged to use the management and control measures as recommended by experts and researchers.

Further studies are recommended to address the main causal factors that were established by the study, which include ignorance, negligence, mindset and poor knowledge. Strategies to combat BXW should be applied together with the efforts to address other cross cutting issues like gender inequality, HIV/AIDS and environmental problems. In addition, technical studies should be carried out to establish more scientific facts and additional measures that will be utilized to combat BXW in Tanzania and beyond. The study finally calls upon the international community to join the Tanzanian Government as stakeholders in research, technology transfer and knowledge dissemination in order to establish the causes, symptoms, effects, management and control of the disease.

Key words: BXW, effects, food security, income, management and control

Vision Statement

We envisage a friendly environment and a healthy, prosperous, and just society that is committed to solution of its problems independently and sustainably.

Mission Statement

KADETFU is committed to protect human rights, conserve the environment, facilitate promotion of social, economic, cultural development and empower the society.

Objectives

Economic promotion by enhancing income opportunities to ensure food availability at household level in urban and rural areas through improving community capacities and research.