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Effectiveness of learning and experimentation approaches for farmers as a community based strategy for banana xanthomonas wilt management

Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) is a devastating disease for banana and enset in east, central and Horn of Africa since 1968. The disease has spread to all banana growing countries in the region in the last decade, causing yield losses of up to 80 to 100%. Several efforts have been undertaken to develop and implement technologies for BXW management and their effective deployment with varying successes. This paper presents a new participatory approach for managing BXW named Learning and Experimentation Approaches For Farmers (LEAFF) and describes how it was implemented, tested and evaluated among 220 farmers across two agroecological regions, central and South-western Uganda. Results showed that there was a general reduction in the number of infected plants, corresponding to 7% increase in productivity of banana among the LEAFF compared to the non LEAFF participating farmers. The findings suggested that scaling out LEAFF to different parts in the region can significantly contribute to effective and sustainable adoption of BXW management technologies, and in turn, can lead to improved productivity and smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.