Uganda: Deadly Banana Disease - Locals Call for Government Intervention

22 February 2020

Local leaders in Ntungamo, Isingiro and Rwampara districts have called upon government to systematically intervene and contain the new deadly banana disease which is rapidly spreading into western Uganda districts.

The fast-spreading disease dries up banana plants and wilts fruits at a terrifying rate.

"We are just recovering from the banana bacteria wilt, our plantations are new and now we are affected by this deadly disease. Scientists say they do not know how it spreads and not even how it would be controlled. The government must come up with a measure through research as soon as possible to save farmers," Mr Jeremiah Kamulari, the Isingiro District chairman, said.

He added that the disease has so far affected six most banana producing sub-counties in his district and it is quickly spreading to others.

"We did our part by sending samples to the agriculture ministry to take necessary steps, but nothing has been done," Mr Kamulari said.

The Ntungamo District Secretary for Production, Mr Anthony Byaruhanga, said that without efforts by the central government about the disease, all the hopes of the banana farmers would be shuttered.

Mr Fred Ndagano, a farmer from Kibaare Ndaija Sub County in Rwampara District said much of his eight-acre banana plantation has been infested and he is unsure about what to do next.

"I have called upon almost everyone concerned but no one has visited my banana plantation. I do not know what to do," he said.

Mr Swaibu Bataringaya, a farmer from Ngarama Sub County in Isingiro District noted that they have started cutting down the bananas affected and burying them hoping to prevent further infection, but they do not know whether this would be a remedy.

The Ntungamo district Agriculture officer, Ms Esther Atwine, said a research team from National Agriculture research organization (NARO) has visited the district on fact finding mission and are yet to give a response on their findings.

The banana disease whose name has not been discovered affects the fruit of the banana turning it brown after which it dries up.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), says they are to know the drug that can be used to stop the disease.

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