Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station

Limbe, Malawi

Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station

Limbe, Malawi
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Kumar P.L.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Hanna R.,British Petroleum | Alabi O.J.,Washington State University | Soko M.M.,Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station | And 3 more authors.
Virus Research | Year: 2011

Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) was first reported from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1950s, has become invasive and spread into 11 countries in the region. To determine the potential threat of BBTV to the production of bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) in the sub-region, field surveys were conducted for the presence of banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) in the DRC, Angola, Cameroon, Gabon and Malawi. Using the DNA-S and DNA-R segments of the virus genome, the genetic diversity of BBTV isolates was also determined from these countries relative to virus isolates across the banana-growing regions around the world. The results established that BBTD is widely prevalent in all parts of DRC, Malawi, Angola and Gabon, in south and western part of Cameroon. Analysis of the nucleotide sequences of DNA-S and DNA-R indicate that BBTV isolates from these countries are genetically identical forming a unique clade within the 'South Pacific' phylogroup that includes isolates from Australia, Egypt, South Asia and South Pacific. These results imply that farmers' traditional practice of transferring vegetative propagules within and between countries, together with virus spread by the widely prevalent banana aphid vector, Pentalonia nigronervosa, could have contributed to the geographic expansion of BBTV in SSA. The results provided a baseline to explore sanitary measures and other 'clean' plant programs for sustainable management of BBTV and its vector in regions where the disease has already been established and prevent the spread of the virus to as yet unaffected regions in SSA. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Mbewe W.,University of Malawi | Mbewe W.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Mbewe W.,Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station | Kumar P.L.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Phytopathology | Year: 2015

Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) has emerged as a major threat to cassava (Manihot esculenta) in eastern and southern Africa. CBSD was first reported in Malawi in the 1950s, but little data on the distribution and epidemiology of the disease are available. A diagnostic survey was therefore conducted in Malawi to determine the distribution, incidence and diversity of viruses causing the disease, and to characterize its effects on local cassava cultivars. Diagnostic tests confirmed the presence of cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs) in 90% of leaf samples from symptomatic plants. Average CBSD foliar severity was 2.5, although this varied significantly between districts. Both Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV) (genus Ipomovirus, family Potyviridae) were detected from sampled plants. UCBSV was widespread, whereas CBSV was detected only in the two most northerly districts. The average abundance of the whitefly vector (Bemisia tabaci) was 0.4 per plant, a low value that was partly attributable to the fact that the survey was conducted during the cool part of the year known to be unfavourable for B. tabaci whiteflies. Spearman's correlation analyses showed a positive correlation between CBSD foliar incidence and CBSD severity and between CBSD severity and CBSD stem incidence. Of the 31 cassava varieties encountered, 20-20 was most severely affected, whilst Mtutumusi was completely unaffected. Although data from this study do not indicate a significant CBSD deterioration in Malawi, strengthened management efforts are required to reduce the current impact of the disease. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Mng'omba S.A.,World Agroforestry Center | Akinnifesi F.K.,World Agroforestry Center | Mkonda A.,World Agroforestry Center | Mhango J.,Mzuzu University | And 3 more authors.
Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems | Year: 2015

This study integrates ecological knowledge and scientific principles in selecting superior Uapaca kirkiana phenotypes in Malawi and Zambia through focus-group discussions. Fruit collectors and roadside marketers provided locations of superior phenotypes (fruit load, size, and sweetness). About 73% of phenotypes were on cultivated land in Zambia, 66% were on forest reserves, and 15% were on cultivated land in Malawi. Phenotypes ranked superior by communities were indeed superior by scientists’ criteria. Local knowledge on superior phenotypes resides with community fruit collectors. Combining local ecological knowledge with scientific approaches in a complementary manner facilitated superior phenotype identification within a relatively short period. © , Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Chipungu F.P.,Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station | Ambali A.J.D.,University of Malawi | Kalenga Saka J.D.,University of Malawi | Mahungu N.M.,IITA SARRNET | Mkumbira J.,Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

A survey to document indigenous knowledge associated with sweetpotato production was conducted in Chitipa, Karonga and Mzimba in the North and Mulanje, Phalombe, Chikhwawa and Nsanje Districts of Malawi in 2003. The study aimed to better understand the knowledge associated with farmers' varieties for potential use in the development of improved and acceptable varieties. In total, 268 varieties were documented and 62 of the 140 farmers sampled were custodians of these varieties. In general, the study revealed that 44% of farmers grew sweetpotato varieties in mixtures of two (all districts) to sixteen (Nsanje) with a mean of 3.85±1.33. Among the varieties documented, only one of the seven officially released varieties, Kenya was grown in all districts by 78% of farmers either in pure or mixed stand with other varieties. However, susceptibility to sweetpotato weevil damage and short shelf life after harvest were the main draw backs of variety Kenya. Farmers therefore tend to harvest Kenya and other susceptible varieties in bulk at maturity which resulted in high market price variation between seasons due to the commonality of the harvesting time period. In the prevailing situations of food insecurity, shortened rainy but prolonged dry seasons and increased weevil thresholds, early maturity was ranked crucial by 68% of farmers and more so were other traits that allowed for relay harvesting and post-harvest storage. Farmers' classification of their varieties revealed diversity in terms of yield level, maturity period, tolerance to weevils and post-harvest shelf life where only mixed cultivation enable prolonged availability for household use. The poor root shape and size renders the farmers' varieties to have no market value. The livelihood of many Malawians could be improved if this indigenous knowledge is applied in the improvement program to facilitate adaptation to climate change through increased food productivity and availability.

Staver C.,Bioversity International | Junkin R.,El Centro Para La Competitividad Of Eco Empresas | Flores W.,University of Costa Rica | Gonzales I.,National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, León | And 7 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Processing is often proposed to solve the seasonal surplus of bananas and plantains (Musa spp.), to reduce losses from spoilage and undersized fruits and to increase farmer incomes. To examine the contribution of small agro-industries to rural development in banana producing areas, study teams from nine countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America categorized current Musa processing businesses by type of product, size of firm and technology used, determined their strengths and weaknesses, and surveyed diverse categories of business service providers used by the processing businesses. Country teams met in October 2006 in Manila, Philippines, to draw conclusions across regions. In the nine countries less than 5% of dessert bananas, about 24% of plantains and between 30-40% of cooking bananas produced were processed. Common products included chips, dried sweet bananas, beer, wine, juice, sauce, baskets and mats from banana fiber, and banana-flavored milk products. Although Musa processing enterprises play an important role in the livelihoods of thousands of poor households, their significance as tools for rural development is limited by a number of factors, including seasonality of production, price competition from the fresh fruit market and quality issues. Limitations can be overcome to some extent by systematic and sustained investment in the business services accessible to rural populations and in the management capacity of microand small businesses.

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