Control of Bacterial Wilt Disease in Enset
Ensete ventricosum, commonly known as the Ethiopian banana, false banana, or enset, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ensete of the banana family Musaceae. It is a staple food source for millions of people in Ethiopia. The crop has several production constraints among which bacterial wilt disease is a major problem in all the enset growing regions. There is no known genetic resistance to bacterial wilt in either banana or enset.
IITA in partnership with National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda and African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) have successfully developed and tested transgenic bananas (using Hrap and Pflp gene) that are resistant to the deadly bacterial wilt disease.
This project aims to transfer this transgenic technology from banana to enset. Transgenic enset with resistance to bacterial wilt would reduce the losses of the small-scale farmers who depend on enset as a staple food. This project also aims to develop human and infrastructure capacity for genetic engineering in Ethiopia.
The overall goal of the project is to develop transgenic enset varieties resistant to bacterial wilt disease and possessing acceptable agronomic traits.