Before the start of this project, Banana streak virus (BSV) had been reported as being an
increasingly important constraint to the cultivation of East African highland bananas in
certain areas of Uganda. However, little was known about the epidemiology of the disease
or its effect on the growth and productivity of banana plants.
Monitoring virus-indexed plants planted in small plots within areas of relatively high BSV
incidence in Ntungamo and Rakai districts confirmed that there is natural, vectored,
spread of BSV in the field in Uganda. The rate of spread appeared to be location and
season-dependent, while the pattern of incidence in a larger planting of the local variety
“Kisansa” in Rakai suggested that both longer distance primary spread and shortdistance secondary spread (to near neighbours) occurred. Mealybugs were identified as
the most likely vector of BSV and several different species were found colonising banana
plants in Uganda; a key to the identification of the mealybugs found on banana plants in Africa was developed.