Banana Farmers Yet to Uproot Old Suckers

Some Banana farmers in Phalombe and Mulanje are yet to uproot old suckers for the crop six years after the government introduced production of clean banana suckers in the wake of Banana Bunch Top Virus (BBTV).

Director of Crop Development for the Ministry of agriculture, Elida Kazira, told Zodiak Online on Friday that they are now sensitizing farmers on the impact of non-compliance to uproot the suckers.

Kazira said the ministry is encouraging communities to institute Banana Bunchy Top Virus surveillance committees to avert further spreading of the diseases.

"The Ministry is promoting the use of community or individual systematic orchards for the provision of clean planting materials and also to carter as training grounds," said Kazira.

Meanwhile, Agriculture expert, Ronald Chilumpha, has faulted the government for failing to fully sensitize farmers on the impact of the disease.

Chilumpha said government should step up efforts to sensitize farmers on the negative impact of not uprooting the old suckers.

The last two decades have seen a sharp decline in Malawi's banana production due to widespread outbreaks of pests and diseases, among others.

Banana is Malawis' fourth largest staple crop, after maize, rice and cassava.

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