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The banana burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis (Cobb) Thorne, in the Lake Victoria region of East Africa: its introduction, spread and impact

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For more content, see Nematologica.

In the Lake Victoria region of East Africa bananas are a starchy staple of major importance. Whilst concerns over banana cultivation in the region have been expressed for well over 50 years, over the last 30 years these have grown more serious, with data suggesting that banana yields have halved in some areas since the 1970s. Historical and survey evidence demonstrate that the banana burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, and the associated 'black-head toppling disease' were absent from the region prior to the 1960s. It is suggested that the introduction of R. similis to Uganda and its subsequent rapid spread in many of the banana growing areas of the Lake Victoria region is a major component of the severe production difficulties the crop is presently facing. Evidence for the continuing spread of R. similis in East and Central Africa and the implications of this are discussed.


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