ICT4BXW project – control and prevention of of BXW in Rwanda

The problem that is being tackled

Xanthomonas Wilt of Banana (BXW) is a complex problem in the African Great Lakes Region that is affecting the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. Xanthomonas Wilt of Banana (BXW), caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum, affects production of all types of bananas, in all major production regions in East and Central Africa. The disease is detrimental to banana-based farming systems, due to easy spread, rapid in-plant development, absence of resistant cultivars, and inevitable death of infected plants (but not the whole physically interconnected mat due to incomplete systemicity) in absence of disease resistant varieties.

The CIALCA solution

ICT4BXW is an IITA-led, GIZ/BMZ-funded project that is focused on developing, piloting, and deploying ICT-based tool for surveillance and control Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) in Rwanda. The project is being implemented in collaboration with several partners, including Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) to co-develop and validate (smart) phone-based tool with 70 Rwandan Farmer Promoters.

The project aligns with the ICT for Rwanda in Agriculture (ICT4Rag) Strategy 2016-2020, by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. By 2020, the project aims to have piloted the decision-making support tool, thereby reaching at least 5,000 farmers. After that, the project aims to secure a second phase during which the tool will be prepared for use at larger scale in Rwanda and elsewhere in the African Great Lakes region.

The project will introduce an ICT platform to:

  1. Collect data on presence and severity of BXW disease with farmers, farmer promoters, and other extension personnel;
  2. Support bi-directional interaction between banana farmers and extensionists
  3. Improve decision-support to farmers on best-fit BXW prevention and control option;
  4. Provide evidence to the government for targeted disease prevention through an early warning system.

ICT4BXW is also developing national capacity research capacity by sponsoring motivated and talented Rwandan nationals to pursue graduate studies and internships[(app+platform)

How it contributes to improving livelihoods

The app and platform is expected to improve agriculture-based livelihoods in Central Africa by addressing a major disease (Banana Xanthomonas Wilt – BXW) problem which is ravaging banana stands. Banana is a popular crop in the region and it is a major source of nutrition and income for farmers. Inability to assess BXW incidence and severity or to provide information directly to farmers regarding effective control methods is extenuating banana production systems and compomising livelihood of farmers. We expect that our innovation will democratize information access and support for monitoring.

CIALCA Pillars

Pillar 1: Partnerships and policies Pillar 2: Capacity Development Pillar 3: Innovation development and use
We are implementing demo trials for BXW control in partnership with Rwanda Agricultural Board. 2 PhDs are currently linked to the project; 10 RAB Technicians have been trained in the use of ICT tool for data collection. We are implementing a participatory and inclusive technology design (PITD) approach to develop the BXW tool.

Must-read publication

If you want to learn more about BXW management in Central Africa, then please read:

Mariette Mc Campbella, Marc Schut, Inge Van den Bergh, Boudy van Schagen, Bernard Vanlauwe, Guy Blomme, Svetlana Gaidashova, Emmanuel Njukwe, Cees Leeuwis (2017). Xanthomonas Wilt of Banana (BXW) in Central Africa: Opportunities, challenges, and pathways for citizen science and ICT-based control and prevention strategies.

More info and outputs

Julius Adewopo, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (j.adewopo@cgiar.org)


This work stream is implemented in collaboration with:

  • International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA),
  • Bioversity International,
  • Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB),
  • Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)