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Improvement of coffee production in Africa by the control of coffee wilt disease (tracheomycosis)

Published by:
Publication date
Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
Working Papers & Briefs
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk reduction/mitigation
International Coffee Organization

This document contains a summary of the final report of the project entitled ‘Improvement of coffee production in Africa by the control of coffee wilt disease (tracheomycosis)’ which was submitted by the Project Executing Agency, CAB International.

The project commenced in October 2000 and ended in December 2007.  The participating countries were Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Tracheomycosis or vascular wilt disease of coffee or coffee wilt disease (CWD) is caused by a fungus (Fusarium xylarioides) which also has a sexual stage (Gibberella xylarioides).  The pathogen was first described in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1948, although the disease had already been identified for two decades. During the 1940s and 1950s, the disease became a serious problem for Robusta coffee (Fraselle, J. 1950) in several countries in West and Central Africa, but the disease was controlled through use of resistant varieties, and uprooting and burning infected coffee trees, which reduced its impact to that of a minor disease. Coffee Arabica, C. canephora, C. excelsa and wild coffee species are all susceptible, although  there are two distinct strains of the same disease, one infecting Robusta, and another infecting Arabica coffees. In the early 1980s the disease was reported to be causing considerable losses to Robusta coffee in the North Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R. Congo) and Uganda. This marked the resurgence of the disease. The full extent of losses due to this disease was not quantified precisely but its presence was confirmed in 12 of the 27 coffee growing districts in Uganda before the project began. However, substantial losses of between 60-90% due to the disease were observed in the North Eastern D.R. Congo by Dr Julie Flood.