Most farmers in Kenya have either heard of, seen or experienced the bacterial wilt menace; Felix is one farmer who can tell the tale of being through the rough but coming out as a winner through Amiran’s soil sterilization that has allowed him to have a successful beautiful tomato harvest from the same land that had the disease.

The Challenge

Bacterial Wilt is a commonly known soil disease in Kenya and around. Caused by, the soil borne bacteria ‘Pseudomonas solanacearum’ it attacks the plants in the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplants. A characteristic of this disease which sets itself apart from the other wilt diseases is that plants wilt and die rapidly without yellowing or spotting of the foliage. Bacteria causes wilt by invading and gradually blocking the plant’s vascular tissue (food and water conduction vessels).

“The high levels of destruction the bacteria cause to the crops have earned them a more seemingly dreaded title. These microorganisms in the soils which we mostly refer to as HIV virus of the soil can cause up to 100 percent losses to a farmer depending on their intensity in the soil. These problems have been on the rise”, Christopher Mutune, Amiran Technical Agronomist.

The Amiran Solution

After a survey conducted by Amiran on the major challenges farmers’ face, bacterial wilt emerged at a top threat. Amiran agronomists sort a solution to the dreaded ‘Bacterial Wilt’ challenge that has affected hundred of farmers. After several trials and research carried out in numerous locations countrywide, Amiran’s solution to bacterial wilt topped as one of the best solutions.

Felix, a young outgoing farmer in Nakuru region breathed a sigh of relief when Amiran experts engaged him on how to carry out the soil sterilization process. Together with the very excited farmer, Amiran invited a large number of farmers to Peter’s farm for a detailed training on all facts bacterial wilt.

“The process entails steaming of the affected soil to achieve a temperature of between 80- 100 O C. In this temperature range, the pathogen that causes the disease cannot survive” explains Emma Wanjiru, Amiran’s Capacity Building Coordinator.

In addition to being taken through the process of Amiran’s Soil Sterilization process, the farmers where advised on how one can carry on with their farming venture after the steaming process. “At the end of the exercise, the pathogen causing microorganisms is killed. It is important to know that the process also affects the beneficial micro-organism and thus we insist to farmers on the need to invest in an Amiran Bacterial wilt kit that consists of;

  • Planting bags with perforations- to place the sterilized soil and later transplant seedlings onto. The perforations offer the roots ventilation to breathe.
  • Amiran Plastic Mulch- to provide an eco-friendly boundary between the planting bags and the affected soil.
  • Amiran Products for Soil Conditioning and Water Cleansing.

Amiran’s agronomic team recommends that in addition to the above, farmers should carry out strict pytosanitary levels to reduce the chances of having their crops affected by the disease. Examples of the pytosanitary measures are; limiting traffic into their greenhouse for people might carry bacteria especially on their shoes bringing them into the greenhouse, have a foot bath at the entrance of the greenhouse structure that one can cleanse their feet/shoes in before entering the greenhouse.