Skip to main content

Farmers’ knowledge and perception of enset Xanthomonas wilt in southern Ethiopia



Enset Xanthomonas wilt (EXW) was first reported in 1939 and continues to threaten the sustainability of farming systems in south and southwestern parts of Ethiopia. The present study was conducted in the central zones of southern Ethiopia to assess farmers’ knowledge and perception about EXW, its etiology and mode of transmission, and its implications for the management of EXW.


A survey was conducted in 240 households across Hadiya, Kembata-Tembaro and Wolaita zones of southern Ethiopia using focus group discussions and a structured questionnaire to assess farmers’ perceptions of causes and modes of EXW transmission, and their knowledge on symptom identification. In addition, EXW prevalence, incidence and severity were determined for each zone. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics.


The results showed that a significant number of farmers are aware of EXW, its symptoms, etiology and transmission and spread, but they are not able to readily relate modes of spread to control methods. Since 2002, EXW became prominent in Hadiya, with the highest EXW incidence and severity, followed by Wolaita, and Kembata-Tembaro. Farmers identified EXW as the major cause for declining production and productivity of enset in the region.


EXW has spread widely and rapidly in southern Ethiopia, with significant socioeconomic impacts in smallholders’ livelihoods. There is a need for developing knowledge-based strategies and awareness-raising campaign for EXW management.


Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is a perennial, herbaceous and monocarpic crop belonging to the family Musaceae. Its appearance resembles that of banana, but enset is taller and fatter, with no edible fruits, and is thus named ‘false banana.’ It is propagated vegetatively from suckers emerging from an underground rhizome (also called the corm). Over time, a sucker develops into a new fruit-bearing plant. It has traditionally ranked as the first in importance as cultivated staple food crop in the highlands of central, south and southwestern Ethiopia, and is also considered as a food security and cash crop. About 302, 143 ha of land is covered by enset crop [1], and more than 20% of Ethiopia’s population depends upon enset for human food, animal forage, fiber, construction materials and medicines [2].

The main food product, known locally as ‘kocho,’ is obtained by fermenting a mixture of the scraped pulp from the pseudostem, pulverized corm and the stalk of the inflorescence. The corm can be harvested at almost any stage of the crop; it can be cooked and consumed in the same way as other root and tuber crops, relieving hunger during periods of critical food shortages. Kocho can be stored for a long time without being spoiled [3]. The crop is grown in mixed farming systems, often in association with coffee, multi-purpose trees, and annual food and fodder crops [4].

Despite enset’s importance, production and productivity are constrained by several biotic and abiotic factors. Bacterial wilt, caused by Xanthomnas campestris pv. musacearum is an economically important disease of enset, putting the sustainability of enset farming systems in jeopardy [5,6,7]. Up to 80% of enset farms in Ethiopia are currently infected with enset Xanthomonas wilt (EXW) [8]. The disease has forced farmers to abandon enset production, resulting in critical food shortage in the densely populated areas of southern Ethiopia [9, 10]. This disease directly affects the livelihood of more than 20% of farmers in the country.

In Ethiopia, EXW was first described in 1939 [11]. Subsequently, the causal agent was described as Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm) [5]. EXW is now recognized as a national problem, as it spread quickly to neighboring regions of SNNPR and Oromia and on bananas since its initial discovery on enset. Forty years after its initial discovery in Ethiopia, Xcm was reported in central Uganda in 2001 [12], and thereafter the disease rapidly spread and developed into a full-blown epidemic on banana, spreading to neighboring countries, including Tanzania [13], the Democratic Republic of Congo [14], Rwanda [15], Burundi [16] and Kenya [17], where it reportedly caused 80–100% crop loss, especially in beer bananas (ABB genome). Such losses drastically affected poor and vulnerable farmers who depended on the consumption of the crop and where there are already high or medium levels of food insecurity [18].

EXW invades the vascular system of enset, causing permanent wilting and eventual death of the plant. Primarily, EXW is transmitted via insects, contaminated tools and infected planting materials [19]. Symptomless enset and/or banana bunches and leaves used to wrap bunches for transport to markets are another important source of Xcm inoculum that may be responsible for its long distance spread [20]. The main symptoms of EXW are wilting and necrosis of leaves and vascular discoloration. Internally, yellowing and/or brown discoloration of vascular bundles can be seen throughout the plant when the plant is sectioned, but this discoloration is often much more apparent in the central tissues of the pseudostem than in the outer leaf sheaths. A cream or yellow-colored ooze exudes within a few minutes of cutting tissue (Fig. 1). Initial symptoms on affected plants vary depending on the point of infection. When Xcm transmission occurs via contaminated garden tools, infected plants display a progressive yellowing of leaves from the leaf tip toward the petioles. Most infected suckers die prematurely [7, 19].

Fig. 1
figure 1

a Enset plantation in Hadiya zone, b Healthy enset plants with strong pseudostem, c Xanthomonas wilt infected enset plant, and d yellow ooze from cut pseudostem

Control of EXW is challenging, as there are no resistant cultivars or effective chemical or biological measures. Sanitation and reducing Xcm transmission are the main measures to manage this disease. Management practices recommended for EXW and BXW include uprooting and discarding infected plants, planting healthy, disease-free plants from less susceptible varieties, disinfecting farm tools after every use, crop rotation, avoiding overflow of water from infected to uninfected fields, removing alternate hosts around plants, and controlling leafhoppers, aphids and mole rats that may transmit Xcm [10, 21]. However, the most labor-intensive practices may not always be adopted by farmers, and recommendations like burying or burning of infected enset stems have been abandoned by farmers in some enset- and banana-producing areas. [22, 23].

Effective disease management intervention requires a good understanding of disease epidemiology and the pathogen’s transmission dynamics in time and space [24,25,26]. Knowledge of the specifics that surround disease development is crucial for identifying risk factors, designing efficient surveillance methods and identifying control strategies [26]. Local farmers can provide substantial information about local diseases and practices to manage the disease as farmers’ traditional knowledge is often impressively broad and comprehensive [27]. Farmers’ knowledge of diseases is well documented on many crops such as cotton [28], rice [29], beans [30] and vegetables [31]. Similar documentation for enset is scant and not up-to-date. A few studies have documented farmers’ perceptions and ethnobotanical knowledge of the enset crop; however, there is no systematic information that explicitly describes indigenous knowledge about EXW in Ethiopia and the impact of farmers’ practices on the spread of EXW in Ethiopia. It is therefore important to understand farmer’s knowledge about EXW and their perceptions about crop loss. This information could help to guide EXW management practices in a sustainable manner.

The purpose of this study was to investigate farmers’ knowledge and perceptions of the cause and spread of EXW, and their indigenous practices in managing EXW. The specific objectives were to (1) identify enset production constraints based on farmers’ perception of their importance, (2) assess farmers’ awareness of EXW incidence and severity and (3) document farmers’ knowledge about EXW, their damage and indigenous management practices.


The study area

The SNNPR is located in the south and southwestern parts of Ethiopia, 4.43°–8. 58°N latitude and 34.88°–39.14°E, bordering Kenya to the south and South Sudan to the west and southwest, and the Oromia region of Ethiopia to the north and east (Fig. 2). It has a total area of ~ 111,000 km2, lying within elevations of 378–4207 m above sea level. The annual mean temperature is less than 10 °C in the extreme highlands and over 27 °C in the lowlands. The region is subdivided into zones, which are organized into woredas/districts. Within woredas, kebeles are the smallest administrative units. This study was conducted in the three zones of SNNPR, namely Hadiya, Kembata-Tembaro and Wolaita, a hot spot for EXW disease [8]. Two woredas per zone were selected (Table 1). In each woreda, two kebeles were selected. Selection of the woredas and kebeles were done in consultation with the zone, woreda and kebele agricultural officers and extension experts based on the enset production records. Twenty households per kebele were selected, which brought the total number of households to 240. The areas selected for the study were those with the highest enset production. Farmers were selected based on their involvement in enset cultivation for at least one cycle (4–6 years) and their willingness to participate in this study.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Geographical location of SNNP region of Ethiopia where the enset Xanthomonas wilt surveys were conducted in 2015

Table 1 Description of surveyed woredas and their agro-ecological characterization

Baseline survey

A detailed baseline survey was carried out in 240 households in 2015. The questionnaire was pretested among the farming community living near to Areka Agricultural Research Center at Wolaita in December 2014, and found to capture the intended data (see additional file 1). Surveys were conducted by experienced Areka Agricultural Research teams and well-trained agricultural extension officers from woredas in collaboration with international institutes such as the International Livestock Research Institute, and International Potato Center. The data collection was conducted mainly through: (1) individual interviews and direct on-farm participatory monitoring and observation; (2) key informant and focus group discussion; and (3) secondary data and literature reviews.

Individual interviews, direct on-farm participatory monitoring and observation

Semi-structured interviews were designed, and data were collected with the head of the household or the person responsible for maintenance of the enset plantation. Two hundred and forty farmers were interviewed, and data were collected on a farmer’s indigenous knowledge about EXW, their perceptions of causes and modes of EXW transmission, means of disease management, and each farmer’s knowledge about symptom identification. In addition, information about the study area, landholdings, crops commonly grown and specific information on challenges of enset production were also collected.

Key informant interviews and focus group discussion

To assess the farmers’ indigenous knowledge in each zone, key informants were interviewed, including up to five individuals per kebele, community leaders, local administrations and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) officials, and other members in each zone. One focus group discussion was conducted in each of the studied kebele. Each of these 12 focus group discussions consisted of 15–20 people, including enset farmers, model enset farmers, kebele leaders and development agents.

Secondary data and literature survey

Data sources included the National Enset Research Program and McKnight project progress report [8] as secondary data and personal communication and discussion with elderly people and senior experts in line with knowledge of farmers on EXW. Literature on EXW management was reviewed from published and unpublished sources and reports.

Data analysis

Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, cross-tabulation and means) to generate summaries and tables at zone level using SPSS ver. 20 software (see additional file 2). Chi-square tests were conducted to test for significant differences between zones for variables: (1) frequencies of households who observed EXW for the first time in their farm, (2) perceptions on causes and modes of EXW transmission, and (3) knowledge on symptom identification was calculated. We calculated EXW incidence (number of households with at least one EXW-infected plant) and EXW severity (proportion of EXW-infected plants per household with EXW-infected fields) in 2015 for each zone. Throughout this paper, the term ‘household’ will be used to refer to a group of persons who normally live and eat their meals together in the same dwelling.

Results and discussion

Characteristics of interviewed households

Most (80%) of the interviewed heads of households were men, while the rest (20%) were female household heads who are widows or divorced (Table 2). Household resource leaders are mostly males as is the case in other enset-growing regions [8, 32, 33] and other African countries [34,35,36]. In all zones, the ages of interviewed heads of households ranged from 24 to 92 years, about 62% of respondent households were within the range of working age (24–65 years old), whereas 38% of them were older (> 65 years old).

Table 2 Household characteristics of interviewed farmers from four zones of SNNP region, Ethiopia, in January–February of 2015

On average, the level of education of the households was found to be high; 56% had completed one form of formal education or the other, while the remaining 44% had no formal education at all. This indicates that more than half of the farmers had a primary-level education to understand basic farming practices that can positively affect the adoption of agricultural technologies. Furthermore, farmers’ education could be extended through reading materials such as pamphlets, leaflets and other aids [34, 37]. Another study on adoption of modern beehive technologies by smallholder farmers confirmed that there was a positive correlation between education level and adoption of technologies [38].

Mean family size of households in Wolaita and Kembata-Tembaro zones were similar (7), while that of Hadiya was 8 family member (Table 2). As pointed out by previous studies [8, 32, 33], higher family size of household is a common characteristic in enset-growing regions. As family labor increases, it is expected that agricultural activities can also be accomplished on time. On the other hand, large household size may not guarantee increased labor efficiency as school age children are always in school during working periods [39]. Area under enset cultivation was mostly very small, although plantation ages, and years of enset farming experience varied widely among the interviewed households of Hadiya, Wolaita and Kembata-Tembaro zones. Enset farming experience of households ranged from 12 to 70 years, and total land size occupied by a household ranged from 0.15 to 4 ha (Table 2), of which enset farm size occupied by enset ranged from 0.01 to 0.4 ha (Table 2). This suggests that smallholder farmers have allocated their land for different crops to maintain or improve their household food security.

Enset production trends, constraint and source of planting material

Enset production trends in the last 15 years varied among three zones according to the information collected from sample respondent (Table 3). About 86, 81 and 27.5% of respondents from Hadiya, Kembata-Tembaro and Wolaita zones, respectively, reported decreasing enset production. At the same time in Wolaita zone, 40% of respondents reported increasing enset production, whereas 31% mentioned no change in production (χ 2 = 75.42, P < 0.00016). Farmers also identified various enset production constraints in their locality. The majority of the respondents from Hadiya (88%) and Wolaita (50%) zones believe pests and diseases, especially EXW, to be a major cause for declining production and productivity of enset in the region, while 61.1% of farmers in Kembata-Tembaro zones believe that climate change is the major constraint (χ 2 = 80.79, P < 0.00034). Among others, minimal use of good agricultural practices was also cited the most times as an important constraint in Kembata-Tembaro zone, followed by shortage of clean suckers and poor enset value chain. For many years, enset was the dominant crop in the SNNPR, while teff, cassava, sweet potatoes and maize were considered as minor crops [40]. In the past, people who consumed maize, cassava, sweet potato, potato and taro were considered poor. With the recent outbreak of EXW in the SNNPR, farmers have expanded maize, potato and cassava production, and about 67% of the farmers in the region reduced their consumption of enset due to EXW [8]. Moreover, the area under maize, potato, sweet potato and taro in the SNNPR has increased significantly in recent years [40]. The same trend was observed in Uganda [41, 42] and Tanzania [26].

Table 3 Farmers perception on the enset production trend, reasons for decreasing production and sources of planting materials among Hadiya, Wolaita and Kembata-Tembaro zones of SNNP region of Ethiopia

EXW prevalence, incidence and severity

The interviewed farmers observed EXW for the first time in different years on their farms (Fig. 3a), but interventions in terms of EXW control have not been implemented. There are some years where the number of households observing EXW for the first time in their farms was high and vice versa. EXW was observed in four of the interviewed farmers’ fields for the first time in 1952 at Hadiya, in one in 1980 at Kembata-Tembaro and in 1981 at Wolaita zone (Fig. 3b), indicating that the farmers from these zones observed EXW much later than the initial discovery of EXW [11] published in 1939. The number of farmers with EXW was very low until 1980, increasing to eight in 1981, ten in 1982, twelve in 1985, and thirteen in 1987 and 1990. During 1991–2001, the number of farmers reporting EXW ranged from one to six: only once at Kembata-Tembaro, three at Hadiya and seven at Wolaita. All farmers considered 2009 to be the year with the highest EXW prevalence in their area. Since 2002, EXW has become prominent in Hadiya with the highest EXW incidence and severity (incidence = 69, severity = 11.4%), followed by Wolaita (incidence = 18, severity = 8.6%), and Kembata-Tembaro (incidence = 6, severity = 4.5%) in 2015 (incidence χ 2 = 117.86, df = 3, P < 0.00025, and severity χ 2 = 128.6, df = 3, P < 0.00013) (Fig. 4). The results from this study corroborated previous findings that EXW was most prevalent in Hadiya zone [43, 44]. A previous study [22] also confirmed that EXW was the most important constraint in West Shewa zone. A more comprehensive study [8] in the southern region revealed that on average 28.7% of enset stands were lost due to EXW disease. These levels are high and suggest large potential economic losses if EXW is not controlled. Further studies are required to determine the economic losses due to EXW in Ethiopia.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Number of farmers who observed EXW for the first time in their farm, a prevalence of EXW in moving average pattern during 1952–2014, and b frequency distribution of interviewed farmers during 1952–2014 when they observed the prevalence of EXW in Hadiya, Kembata-Tembaro and Wolaita zones of SNNPR, Ethiopia

Fig. 4
figure 4

EXW incidence (number of households with at least one EXW-infected plant) and EXW severity (proportion of EXW-infected plants/household with EXW-infected fields) among surveyed households from Hadiya, Wolaita and Kembata-Tembaro zones in 2014–2015

Etiology and means of EXW spread

Most of the interviewed farmers (71%) could identify EXW wilt symptoms. Despite no significant difference in diagnostic capacity, about 59% of households knew leaves yellowing, 40% households knew leaves wilting, and 2% knew the appearance of a pale to yellow ooze from cut pseudostem as a symptom of EXW (data not shown). Most of the respondents (77%) said that contaminated tools, diseased plant debris, animals, animal dung and wind are the etiology of EXW, while nearly 23% said they did not know (Table 4).

Table 4 Awareness of farmers of EXW etiology, transmission and spread

Farmers in the study areas have their own ways of understanding for the means of EXW transmission and spread (Table 4). Most respondents (70–80%) identified contaminated tools, diseased plant debris, insects and animals as principal means, while a minority of the respondents mentioned that animal dung and wind are the major source of EXW transmission and mentioned spread from an external source to the farmers’ fields, and from infected to healthy enset plants. Many farmers know that contaminated farm tools contribute to the rapid spread of Xcm, but recommendations such as the use of disinfectants, use of sterile tools, removal of infected suckers, mat and corms are not practiced in SNNPR, although they are used in Uganda [23]. Moreover, enset and banana traders who move among farms and harvest with nonsterile tools also contribute significantly to EXW spread. Thus, traders must also be trained to use safe harvesting practices.

The different actions taken by farmers in response to infected plants have their own impacts on EXW dissemination. Most farmers uproot the infected enset plant and either throw it away or feed it to their livestock. The difference in type of action taken by farmers for infected plant is statistically significant (χ 2 = 28.01, P < 0.014) (Table 5). The destruction of infected plants is labor intensive, and lack of labor was cited by farmers as a major reason for not carrying out Xanthomonas wilt control practices in Ethiopia and other African countries [45]. In addition, they also believe that droppings from animals that consumed infected plants are the source of inoculum to the healthy ones. It seems farmers are not able to readily relate modes of spread, for example via infected plant, to methods of control. These observations demonstrate the need to develop knowledge-based strategies and an awareness creation campaign for EXW management.

Table 5 Farmers perceptions on the mode of EXW transmission and their actions on the infected plant

Interviewed farmers’ perceptions also varied significantly in identifying the progress of EXW symptoms in their farm (χ 2 = 26.89, P < 0.00021) (Table 6). Most of the farmers believe that Xcm severely attacks enset at all stages of the plant growth. Even though there is little difference in response, nevertheless the majority of farmers believe that the first symptom of EXW is shown in the leaf and it spreads to other parts of the plant, while some farmers from Kembata-Tembaro and Wolaita zones believe the first symptom of EXW appears on shoot tip and moves downwards. This is in line with the previous findings that Xcm can infect enset at any stage of plant growth and EXW symptoms vary also with a plant’s phenology and depends on the point of infection [7, 46].

Table 6 Farmers perceptions on the susceptibility of enset plant, EXW progression on plants and seasonality of EXW

Farmers in the study areas have different beliefs on the seasonality of EXW (Table 6). The majority of farmers (65%) from Wolaita zone believe EXW is seasonal, and about 50% of farmers from Hadiya and Kembata-Tembaro zones do not believe in the seasonality of EXW (χ 2 = 8.65, P < 0.013) (Table 6). Most of the respondents think dry season is favorable for occurrence and development of EXW. The results from this study corroborated farmer observations in Uganda and Tanzania that BXW symptoms increased and were more noticeable in dry seasons soon after the wet seasons [7, 26]. The incubation period between Xcm infection and EXW symptom development ranges from 2 weeks up to 3 months [7, 47]. Some studies have shown that moisture on leaves is an important factor in Xcm survival, establishment and spread on plant [45]. Thus, infection likely took place in the rainy season and symptoms appeared in dry season.


In conclusion, EXW has spread widely and rapidly in southern Ethiopia, causing significant socioeconomic impacts in smallholders’ livelihoods. Its impacts may include complete crop loss in the field, disease management cost as well as the cost of switching to other crops. Management of EXW should be concentrated toward developing and disseminating control strategies including symptom identification, epidemiology and etiology of EXW, right at the field level. Continued public awareness creation program about the disease is essential. Intensive, harmonized and extended efforts are needed to provide a continuous public awareness toward EXW and developing knowledge-based strategies for its management. Practices, such as leaf removal throughout the year, should be accompanied by tool sterilization. EXW recommendations need to consider what farmers can do, given their resources. Noticeably, all enset-growing farmers must be trained and empowered to decide on a refined practical EXW management recommendations, in particular disinfecting farming and processing tools, keeping fields and surrounding areas free of weeds and volunteer plants (alternative hosts), controlling wild and domestic animals from browsing, use of clean planting materials and strict control of the movement of planting material from one area to other (developing local quarantine). Investment in developing and disseminating control strategies would be profitable.



Addis Ababa University


Banana Xanthomonas wilt


International Potato Centre


Central Statistics Authority


Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute


Enset Xanthomonas wilt


Pre-extension demonstration


Southern Agricultural Research Institute


Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State


  1. CSA (Central Statistical Agency) Agricultural in figures key findings of 2008/09–2010/11 Agricultural Samples Survey for All Sectors and Seasons, Ethiopia. 2011.

  2. Azerefegne F, Addis T, Alemu T, Lemawork S, Tadesse E, Gemu M, Blomme G. An IPM guide for Enset root mealybug (Cataenococcus ensete) in Enset production. Bioversity International, Uganda and France offices. 2009; p 18.

  3. Brandt SA, Spring A, Hiesch C, McCabe ST, Endale T. The tree Against Hunger. Enset-based Agricultural systems in Ethiopia. American Association for the Advancement of Science.Washington, DC, USA. 1997; p. 56.

  4. Shigeta M. Folk in situ conservation of enset (Enset ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman): towards the interpretation of indigenous agricultural science of the Ari, southwestern Ethiopia. Asia Afr Area Stud. 1990;2:1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Yirgou D, Bradbury JF. Bacterial wilt of enset (Ensete ventricosum) incited by Xanthomonas musacearum sp. nov. Phytopathology. 1968;58:111–2.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ashagari D. Studies on the bacterial wilt of Enset (Enset ventricosum) and prospects for its control. Ethiop J Agric Sci. 1985;7(1):1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Tripathi L, Mwangi M, Abele S, Aritua V, Tushemereirwe WK, Bandyopadhyay R. Xanthomonas wilt: a threat to banana production in East and Central Africa. Plant Dis. 2009;93:440–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. McKnight CCRP. “Integrated Management of Bacterial Wilt of Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum in Ethiopia Enset bacterial” Enset bacterial wilt Annual report 11-283: (November 2012–October 2013) (Accessed 6 June 2016). 2013.

  9. Spring A. Gender issues and farming systems research and extension in enset agriculture in Ethiopia. In: Abate Tsedeke, et al., editors. Enset-based sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: Institute of Agricultural Research; 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Tadesse M, Kidist B, Gizachew WM. Enset Bacterial wilt sanitary control in Gurage Zone. Awassa. 2003;53:23.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Castellani E. Su un marciume dell’ ensete. L’Agricoltura Coloniale, Italy. 1939;33:297–300.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Tushemereirwe W, Kangire A, Ssekiwoko F, Offord LC, Crozier J, Ba E, Rutherford M, Smith JJ. First report of Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum on banana in Uganda. Plant Pathol. 2004;53:802.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Mgenzi SRB, Muchunguzi D, Mutagwaba T,Mkondo F, Mohamed R, Aritua V. An out-break of banana bacterial wilt disease in Muleba district, Kagera region, Tanzania. African Crops. Net. 2006.

  14. Ndungo V, Eden-Green S, Blomme G, Crozier J, Smith J. Presence of banana xanthomonas wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Plant Pathol. 2006;55:294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Reeder R, Opolot O, Muhinyuza J, Aritua A, Crozier J, Smith J. Presence of banana bacterial wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum) in Rwanda. 2007.

  16. Carter BA, Reeder R, Mgenzi SR, Kinyua ZM, Mbaka JN, Doyle K, Nakato V, Mwangi M, Beed F, Aritua V, Lewis Ivoy ML, Miller SA. Identification of Xanthomonas vasicola (formerly X. campestris pv. musacearum), causative organism of banana xanthomonas wilt, in Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. Plant Pathol. 2010;59:403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ochola D, Jogo W, Odongo M, Tinzaara W, Onyango M, Karamura E. Household dynamics influencing effective eradication of Xanthomonas wilt in smallholder banana systems in Ugunja Division Kenya. Afr J Agric Res. 2014;9(26):2031–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Vurro M, Bonciani B, Vannacci G. Emerging infectious diseases of crop plants in developing countries: impact on agriculture and socio-economic consequences. Food Secur. 2010;2:113–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Welde-michael G, Bobosha K, Addis T, Blomme G, Mekonnen S, Mengesha T. Mechanical transmission and survival of bacterial wilt on enset. Afr Crop Sci J. 2008;16(1):97–102.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Nakato VG, Beed FD, Ramathani I, Kubiriba J, Rwomushana I, Opio F. Risk of banana Xanthomonas wilt spread through trade. J Crop Prot. 2013;2:151–61.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Blomme G, Ploetz R, Jones D, DeLanghe E, Price N, Gold C. A historical overview of the appearance and spread of Musa pests and diseases on the African continent: highlighting the importance of clean Musa planting materials and quarantine measures. Ann Appl Biol. 2013;162:4–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Hunduma T, Sadessa K, Hilu E, Oli M. Evaluation of enset clones resistance against enset bacterial wilt disease (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum). J Veterinar Sci Technol. 2015;6:232.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kubiriba J, Muthomi J, Ndungo V, Kwach J, Erima R, Rwomushana I, Tushemereirwe W, Opio F. Strategies for rehabilitation of banana fields infested with Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum. J Crop Prot. 2014;3(1):21–9.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Bouwmeester H, Heuvelink GBM, Stoorvogel JJ. Mapping crop diseases using survey data: the case of bacterial wilt in bananas in the East African highlands. Eur J Agron. 2016;74:173–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Shaw MW, Osborne TM. Geographic distribution of plant pathogens in response to climate change. Plant Pathol. 2011;60:31–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Shimwela MM, Ploetz RC, Beed FD, Jeffrey JB, Blackburn JK, Mkulila SI, van Bruggen AVC. Banana xanthomonas wilt continues to spread in Tanzania despite an intensive symptomatic plant removal campaign: an impending socio-economic and ecological disaster. Food Secur. 2016;8:939.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Thurston HD. Sustainable practices for plant disease management in traditional farming systems. Boulder: Westview Press, Oxford: IBH Publishing. 1992.

  28. Ochou GO, Matthews AG, Mumford DJ. Comparison of different strategies for cotton insect pest management in Africa. Crop Prot. 1998;17(9):735e741.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Price LL. Demystifying farmers’ entomological and pest management knowledge: a methodology for assessing the impacts on knowledge from IPMFFS and NES interventions. Agric Hum Values. 2001;18(2):153e176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Trutmann P, Voss J, Fairhead J. Local knowledge and farmer perceptions of bean diseases in the Central African Highlands. Agric Hum Values. 1996;13(4):64e70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Obopile M, Munthali CD, Matilo B. Farmers’ knowledge, perceptions and management of vegetable pests and diseases in Botswana. Crop Prot. 2008;27(8):122e1224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Negash A. Diversity and conservation of enset (Enset ventricosum Welw. Cheesman) and its relation to household food and livelihood security in South-western Ethiopia. PhD dissertation, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 2001; p 247.

  33. Yemataw Z, Zeberga A, Muzemil S, Handoro F, Yeshitla M. Community mobilization and awareness creation for the management of enset xanthomonas wilt (EXW): the case of Gerino enset Tekil Kebele Administration, Gurage Zone, Southern Ethiopia. AJPS. 2016;7:1765–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Jogo W, Karamura E, Kubiriba J, Tinzaara W, Rietveld A, Onyango M, Odongo M. Farmers’ awareness and application of banana Xanthomonas wilt control options: the case of Uganda and Kenya. JDAE. 2011;3(11):561–71.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Muthoni JJ, Shimelis H, Melis R. Potato production in kenya: farming systems and production constraints. J Agric Sci. 2013;5(5):182–97.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Gebru H, Mohammed A, Dechassa N, Belew D. Assessment of production practices of smallholder potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) farmers in Wolaita zone, Southern Ethiopia. Agric Food Secur. 2017;6:31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Kateta SY, Kabambe V, Lowole MW, Nalivata PC. Production practices of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) by farmers in Mzimba District, Northern Malawi. Afr J Agric Res. 2015;10:797–802.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Yehuala S, Birhan M, Melak D. Perception of farmers towards the use of modern beehives technology in Amhara region, Ethiopia. EJBS. 2013;5(1):01–8.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Simonyan, JB, Obviator CT. Analysis of household labor ese in yam production in Anambra West local government area of Anambra State, Nigeria. 2012; 8(1):1–16: ISSN: 0794-5213.

  40. CSA (Central Statistical Agency). Agricultural sample survey 2015/2016. Volume I, Report on Area and Production of Major Crops (Private Peasant Holdings, Meher Season). Statistical Bulletin 584. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2016.

  41. Karamura E, Kayobyo G, Blomme G, Benin S, Eden Green SJ, Markham, R. Impacts of BXW epidemic on the livelihoods of rural communities in Uganda. In: Saddler, G, Elphinstone J, Smith J. (eds) Programme and Abstract Book of the 4th International Bacterial Wilt Symposium, 17–20 July 2006, The Lakeside Conference Centre, Central Science Laboratory, York, UK. 2006; p 57.

  42. Karamura E, Kayobi G, Tushemereirwe W, Benin S, Blomme G, Eden Green S, Markham R. Assessing the impacts of banana bacterial wilt disease on banana (Musa spp.) productivity and livelihoods of Ugandan farm households. Acta Hortic. 2010;828:749–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Wolde M, Ayalew A, Chala A. Assessment of bacterial wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum) of enset in Southern Ethiopia. AJAR. 2016;11(19):1724–33.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Africa RISING. Enhancing the productivity of farming systems.;sequence=7. Transforming African agriculture through sustainable intensification. 2014.

  45. Mwangi M, Tinzaara W, Vigheri N, Namu F, Ragama P, Bandyopadhyay R. Comparative study of banana Xanthomonas wilt spread in mid and high altitudes of the Great Lakes region of Africa. In: Conference on international agricultural research for development. Tropentag 2006; University of Bonn, October 11–13, 2006.

  46. Karamura E, Turyagyenda L, Tinzaara W, Blomme G, Molina A, Markham R. Xanthomonas wilt of bananas in East and Central Africa. Diagnostic and Management. Guide Bioversity International Uganda.–and–Managementguide-toBXW. 2008.

  47. Blomme G, Turyagenda LF, Mukasa H, Ssekiwoko F, Mpiira S, Eden Green S. The effect of the prompt removal of inflorescence infected plants and early debudding of inflorescences in the control of Xanthomonas wilt of banana. Acta Hortic. 2007;828:51–6.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors’ contributions

Zerihun Yemataw, Ashenafi Mekonen and Kalpana Sharma conceived and designed the research, collected and analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. Kassahun Tesfaye, Alemayehu Chala and Kindu Mekonen conceived the study, followed up the field work and reviewed and made editorial comments on the draft of the manuscript. David J. Studholme was involved in proof reading and editorial comments on the draft of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

Zerihun Yemataw, graduate student at AAU and full-time researcher at Southern Agricultural Institute (SARI), Areka Agricultural Research Center; Ashenafi Mekonen PED coordinator at SARI; Alemayehu Chala Associate professor at Hawassa University; Kassahun Tesfaye, Associate professor at AAU; Kindu Mekonene, full-time researcher and Africa RISING Deputy coordinator at ILRI, Ethiopia; Davd. J. Studholme, Associate professor at the University of Exeter, UK; Kalpana Sharma, full-time researcher at CIP, Ethiopia


We thank enset-producing farmers in the surveyed zones for their participation and sharing of ideas and knowledge on the different aspects of enset. Generous funding for this research was provided by the McKnight Foundation, Africa RISING program and Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI). The authors would like to thank the Southern Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and Areka Agricultural Research Center for timely provision of the necessary services and facilities. We are grateful to colleagues who have read and commented on the draft manuscript. All errors are our own.

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests

Availability of data and materials

The dataset supporting the conclusions of this article is included within the article (“Additional file 1 Datasets”).


Not applicable.

Ethics approval

Not applicable.

Funding sources

This work was supported by the McKnight foundation, Africa RISING and Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI).

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Z. Yemataw or K. Sharma.

Additional files

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yemataw, Z., Mekonen, A., Chala, A. et al. Farmers’ knowledge and perception of enset Xanthomonas wilt in southern Ethiopia. Agric & Food Secur 6, 62 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: