Agriculture Sector Wide Approach – Support Project (ASWAp-SPII)

When the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development asked farmers in the banana growing districts of Mulanje and Thyolo to uproot all banana plants, there was a lot of resistance from the communities. For most banana farmers in the two districts, exporting bananas to other districts in the country was their only livelihood and even though harvests were less and less due to the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) outbreak, they were still reluctant to uproot the diseased suckers because less harvest was better than none. “When government extension workers told us to uproot and burn the few banana suckers we had left, we strongly protested even though we knew the risk, we couldn’t stand the thought of uprooting our ‘livelihood’. They told us that by keeping diseased suckers, we were helping spread the virus even more,” said Mrs. Grace Chingaipe, a farmer in Thyolo district.  Her sad story is not a unique one in Nkaombe village, T/A Bvumbwe, Grace was one of the first farmers to benefit from free clean banana suckers from a community banana nursery that was established with support from ASWAp-SPII. Now she and a lot of farmers in her community have newfound hope. It required a lot of persuasion, negotiation and warnings from the Ministry to convince the farmers to uproot the infected.
RESTORING THYOLO’S LOST GLORY - Eradicating The Banana Bunchy Top Disease
suckers with only a promise of clean planting materials.

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