Fitting banana tissue culture planting material into farmers’ cultural values in Central Uganda: Challenge to control of banana Xanthomonas wilt

Banana tissue culture planting materials are one of the strategies for fighting the Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) disease in Uganda. The disease is a major threat to food and income security in parts of Uganda where banana is an important staple or cash crop. Several initiatives by the Government of Uganda, Research Institutes and CGIAR centres have promoted the use of Tissue Culture technology as a way of availing clean planting material to reduce the spread of BXW. However, its uptake is still low. In this paper, we seek to broaden explanations of factors that constrain uptake of Tissue Culture banana planting materials taking into account the cultural context of banana cultivation. Focus group discussions and interviews were conducted with banana farmers to provide information on banana varieties that the communities cultivated and why farmers chose those particular varieties. The results show that farmers regard TC as incompatible with their tastes and preferences of the banana crop for traditional food and drinks, cultural and traditional practices. It is thought to be a risky venture because of it is perceived as unsuitable and inadaptable to local weather and soil conditions. Further, it is perceived as complex to use, farmers requiring more knowledge and information on how to plant and maintain the plantlets on-farm. In these aspects, it does not align to the cultural values cognizant to societal welfare and wellbeing. These findings indicate that efforts to control BXW would be beneficial by taking a location specific and holistic approach encompassing aspects of clean banana planting materials but with cultural and traditional dimensions embedded therein.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource