East Africa’s banana production region is threatened by the invasive spread of the banana bunchy top virus. The virus occurrence in East African countries was recorded in 2021, and its spread is unabated. Urgent regional action is necessary to halt the expansion of the most lethal banana virus spread to safeguard banana production and banana biodiversity.
The emergence of the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), responsible for the bunchy top disease, is causing great problems in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. The virus infection results in severe stunting and complete loss of fruit production. The infected plants degenerate in the field and eventually die due to extreme stress. BBTV spread through vegetative propagation of banana as well as by the aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa, which is known to occur in all banana production regions.