Farmers blame poor yields on govt seeds

Thursday February 14 2019

 Destroyed. Mr Mathias Okulega, a farmer in Maracha District,

Destroyed. Mr Mathias Okulega, a farmer in Maracha District, stands besides felled mango trees on his plantation on Tuesday. PHOTO BY FELIX WAROM OKELLO 

By ROBERT ATIKU

Farmers in Maracha District, who embraced the growing of improved mango varieties supplied under various government programmes, have started destroying them over poor yields.

The farmers say they have not benefited from the breed, which was formerly praised during its promotion.
The farmers say, they invested heavily in the planting of the mangoes and maintenance.
These mango trees, they say, have remained barren for years whereas others yeild fruit but they rot.

Mr Mathias Okulega, a farmer from Apadri Village in Oluffe Sub-county, told Daily Monitor on Tuesday: “I am disappointed because I invested more than Shs800,000 to plant and take care for these mangoes but I cannot wait any longer now. The only option is cutting them down and replacing them with other mango varieties.”

The farmers had anticipated supplying fruit to juice processing factories in Arua District and getting abundant returns from the project but all their hopes have been quashed.

Mr Ponzio Asumia, another farmer in Ndalikua Village, Oleba Sub-county, says although Abi Zonal agricultural Research and Development Institute offered advisory services on how to control the vectors that attacked his fruits through spraying and laying traps, the fruits ripened and got rotten before maturity.

Mr Kizito Banduni, a mango farmer in Bataka Village, Tara Sub-county expressed concerns of his fruits being destroyed by fruit flies.

Experts
However, Mr Lawrence Alisiku, a specialist in grafting mangoes in the district, explained that the rotting of the fruits is caused by female flies that lay eggs on flowers and fruits. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the pulp of the fruit and then the larvae emit the bacteria that causes rotting of fruits.

Mr Alisiku noted that the farmers must adopt the Kenyan model in which every farmer is involved other than just a few as is the case in the district now to control the spread of the fruit flies.
He advised the farmers to monitor and harvest their mature mango fruits to give no room for the fruit flies to lay eggs. He adds that the infested fruits get spoiled quickly and fall off before proper ripening.

When contacted, Mr Seargent Godfrey Avuni the Assistant district Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) coordinator of Maracha District said: “The fact is, these mangoes after they bring out flowers, there are some medicines and insecticides which some farmers can not afford to buy and spray the mangoes. They should come to the district agricultural office and my office is also open. We shall advise them on what to do because we need to avert any kind of disease that is attacking the mangoes causing them losses.”

In the past, farmers have been facing challenges of mitigating diseases that affected huge acres of mangoes that were distributed under OWC.
This discouraged some farmers to grow mangoes.

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