Rare disease attacks fruit farms in Lango
Posted Thursday, January 10 2013 at 02:00
Efforts by agricultural experts to contain the disease hit dead end as fruits rot away.
Millions of fruits in Lango sub-region are rotting away after a fungal infection known as Black Spots attacked several lemon and orange farms.
The worst hit varieties are Washington Navel, Valencia and Hamlin, with Tangerine the least affected.
Black Spot is a fungal problem showing as circular, dark, sunken spots on the fruits.
The disease comes at a time when the country is said to have run out of the right insecticides to spray the plants.
Fruit production is one of the major income earning ventures for many households in the sub-region.
Ms Beatrice Okello, a Naads beneficiary in Ngai Sub-county, Oyam District, whose farm was visited by President Museveni in 2010, said the disease is about to kick him out of farming.
Mr Tom Apunyo of Ngetta Agro-forestry in Lira said: “I have failed to pick even a single fruit because all the fruits are rotten.”
Marketing the fruits has also become difficult as buyers have avoided the area, according to Mr Chengits Welborn Owiro in Lira Municipality.
“Even small scale buyers have also turned away from the fruits fearing that they may be unsafe for human consumption. Unless intervention is taken, farmers will soon be out of business,” he said.
The district Naads coordinator, Mr Geoffrey Ojuka said officials from the National Agricultural Research Organisation have already toured the worst affected areas to offer remedies.
Most of the victims are the beneficiaries under the NAADS programme.