Banana and Plantains (Musa spp.) are staple food crops in Gabon. Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) was first reported to occur in Gabon since 1980 (Foure and Manser, 1982). Literature searchers and stakeholder interaction raveled no specific action to contain the spread of the disease. Awareness about the disease diagnosis and management is low among farmers and stakeholders in Gabon.
As part of the CRP-RTB BBTVALLIANCE project and more recently in collaboration with FAO-TCP project, IRAF of Gabon and IITA have conducted surveys to assess the disease distribution in the country. The last survey in 2015 showed that BBTD has spread into new areas and is now well established in the country (FAO 2018; Kumar et al., 2011). In total, 258 fields were surveyed and BBTD were present in 71 fields with 28% disease prevalence (Fig. 1). Out of 9 provinces, the disease is present in 8 provinces with exception of Nyanga province where no infected field were detected. Disease prevalence and incidence vary amongst province. However, high BBTD prevalence has been recorded in Woleu Ntem province (FAO, 2018); which shares border with Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
In 2015, community mobilisation and awareness raising campaigns were done in Northern Province of Woleu Ntem. Nation-wide aawareness-raising campaigns are essential to build the capacity of local producers, particularly with regard to disease identification, the destruction of diseased plants and the rehabilitation of fields, to reduce the incidence in this context where BBTD is widespread.
On-going efforts are inadequate to contain BBTV in Gabon. Limited number of trained personal and resources are major limitation for mobilizing effective action against BBTV in Gabon.
FAO 2018. Report TCP/SFC/3503 entitled « Appui à la prévention et la gestion de la Maladie de Bunchy Top du Bananier (BBTD) au Cameroun, au Gabon et en Guinée Equatoriale
Fouré, E., Manser, P.D., 1982. Note sur l’Apparition au Gabon d’une Grave Maladie Virale des Bananiers et Plantains : le Bunchy Top. Fruits 37, 409-414
Kumar, P.L., Hanna, R., Alabi, O.J., Soko, M.M., Oben, T.T., Vangu, G.H.P., and Naidu, R.A. 2011. Banana bunchy top virus in sub-Saharan Africa: investigations on virus distribution and diversity. Virus Research 159: 171-182.