Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are important food and cash crop in Nigeria. Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) is a severe threat to banana production and the most economically important viral disease of banana and plantain worldwide (Kumar et al., 2011). The disease is caused by the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV, genus Babuvirus) and transmitted by the banana aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa. The virus vector is widespread and known to occur in all the banana production regions.
In Nigeria, BBTD was first observed in 2012 in Ilashe, Ipokia Local Government Area (LGA) in Ogun State (Adegbola et al., 2013). The disease affected region borders with the BBTD-affected areas of the Republic of Benin (7°00′N and 3°35′E) of Nigeria. The virus was confirmed based on the presence of typical BBTV symptomatic plants and positive detection of BBTV by PCR-based diagnosis of viral genomic segments, ELISA, and nucleotide sequencing. The virus is confined to Yew North, Yew South, Ipokia, and Ido-Odo/Ota (Figure 1).
BBTD containment efforts implemented by the BBTV ALLIANCE group since 2012 managed to further expand into other LGAs or states in Nigeria. However, with the four affected LGAs, widespread BBTV was observed in several communities due to replanting of suckers harvested from the infected mats or short distances spread by the aphid vectors. In addition to the current control measures, strict quarantine laws on seed exchanges between areas are being implemented by the NAQS (Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services) to avoid the transfer of infected planting materials from infected parts of the Ogun state to uninfected areas. The ALLIANCE team strictly advice not to use suckers harvested from the affected LGAs and adjoining LGAs (Figure 1) to avoid the risk of BBTD spread further in the country. The ALLIANCE team also to encourages farmers to source clean planting material from the authorized agencies (e.g., NIHORT, IITA, and other organizations or entrepreneurs known to supply virus-free planting materials).
Kumar, P.L., Hanna, R., Alabi, O.J., Soko, M.M., Oben, T.T., Vangu, G.H.P., Naidu, R.A. 2011. Banana bunchy top virus in sub-Saharan Africa: investigations on virus distribution and diversity. Virus Research 159: 171–182. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2011.04.021]
Adegbola, R.A., Ayodeji, O., Awosusi, O.O., Atiri, G.I., Kumar, P.L. 2013. First report of banana bunchy top disease caused by Banana bunchy top virus in banana and plantain (Musa spp.) in Nigeria. Plant Disease 97 (2): 290 [https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-08-12-0745-PDN]