Kabale banana farmers battle bacterial wilt again

Tuesday July 13 2021
reg01pix

The disease is spread from an infected plant to another through sharing the same farm implements. It can also be transmitted by insects. PHOTO | FILE

By Emmanuel Arineitwe

Farmers from Kaharo and Maziba sub-counties in Kabale District are battling a fresh outbreak of banana bacterial wilt.

The outbreak comes barely five years ago after a similar occurrence ravaged banana plantations in Kabale and neighbouring districts of Ntungamo, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Bushenyi and Isingiro.

The disease, which mainly attacks plants past the maiden sucker stage, is characterised by yellowing and complete wilting of leaves. 

The LC5 councillor for Kaharo Sub- county, Mr Gracious Kabeth Tumwine,  at the weekend said most of the affected farmers are from Kaharo, Bugarama and Katenga  parishes. 

Mr Tumwine said farmers have  no other option but to destroy the affected suckers.

“We find it difficult to fight the wilt because some of our farmers are not following what agricultural extension workers told us,” Mr Tumwine said.

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Mr Ben Kyokwijuka, a farmer from  Maziba, said the disease was spreading rapidly and is threatening the livelihood of residents.

Mr Kyokwijuka said it is resistant to pesticides, adding that the area is likely to face  food shortage. 

He added that the disease also has been cited in Kahondo, Karweru and Kavu parishes.

The Kaharo chairman,  Mr Edmond Tumwesigye, said the political leadership was working with the sub-county agriculture extension workers to ensure that the disease is eradictated. 

Mr Tumwesigye said they have also started sensitising residents about better farming practices.

The district principal agriculture officer, Mr Deus Bagambana Baguma, asked farmers to comply with the control measures put in place by agriculture extension workers  such as cutting down all the affected plants.

“It is unfortunate that bacteria wilt is coming again in the district but the simple management is that once a farmer identifies an infected banana in his plantation, he should cut the affected part of the banana sucker and then sanitise the tools used or put them in fire so that the disease is not spread to other plantations,” Mr Baguma said.

The district chairperson, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, urged farmers to implement the advice from technical personnel if they want to stop the wilt.


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