The consistently rising human population in Kenya demands production of healthy food. African Nightshades have good potential in contributing to Kenya’s vision 2030 in attaining food and nutrition security. African nightshades form an important component in diets, by providing essential vitamins, micronutrients and fibre. They also possess phytochemicals including antioxidants, which strengthen the body’s defense against diseases. However, production of African nightshades is threatened by the devastating bacterial wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. The pathogen causes heavy yield losses of up to 100%, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa due to prevailing optimal conditions. The pathogen is capable of surviving long periods underground, in crop residues and irrigation water owing to its great metabolic adaptability. A survey was done to determine the prevalence of bacterial wilt on African Nightshade in selected areas in Kenya. R. solanacearum was reported in Western, Central and Rift valley regions. Of the farms surveyed, 24% showed symptoms of wilting with the narrow leafed variety, Solanum villosum, showing higher severity. Different management strategies were employed by farmers including rotation, uprooting and burning affected plants, biocontrol, use of amendments and use of chemicals. In the current study, we provide insights on the status and available management options for control of bacterial wilt disease in African Nightshades in Kenya. It is hoped that the findings will contribute to improved yields of African nightshades and to new knowledge on the disease management.
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RUFORUM Working document series