Control of black Sigatoka
disease: Challenges and prospects
Ebimieowei Etebu* and
Department of Biological
Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island,
Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +234-802-982-9015.
Accepted 12 January, 2011
Plantains and bananas are staple food for about 70 million
people throughout the humid and sub-humid tropic of Africa.
They provide an important source of revenue for small
holders who cultivate them. Production, however, has always
been threatened by a variety of constraints; the most
overriding constraint being black Sigatoka disease caused by
a wind-borne fungus, Mycosphaerella fijiensis Morelet.
As much as 27% of the total cost of production is
apportioned to curb the menace the disease. Hence in this
write up, the various methods applied so far to control
black sigatoka disease in plantains and bananas are reviewed
with emphasis on their apparent challenges and prospects.
Findings showed that the consumption of plantains and
bananas has risen tremendously in recent years, and black
Sigatoka disease can be controlled in various ways –
culturally, chemically, quarantine, and breeding for disease
resistance. A proper management of organic matter using
different crop residues as mulch builds up the soil
fertility level, and substantially reduced the effect of the
disease. The use of forecasting methods could be part of an
integrated disease management strategy, as this would reduce
the number of fungicide treatment, disease production cost,
and partially eliminate pollution challenges. The production
and cultivation of disease resistant cultivars in
combination with good cultural practices is generally
considered to be the most appropriate intervention
strategies that would control black sigatoka disease of
plantains and bananas.
Key words: Plantain, banana, black Sigatoka disease, Mycosphaerella fijiensis.