Agricultural College in Luweero has embarked on multiplication of grafted
tomatoes to help farmers fight against bacteria wilt.
Tomatoes are high
yielding crops. Many farmers have embraced tomato growing because of available to
a box of tomatoes goes for between Shillings 200,000-350,000 in the market.
The most common tomato varieties grown in Uganda include Rio Grande, Tengeru 97,
Amateur Rodade, Heinz, New fortune maker F1, Nouvelle f1, commando f1, Rambo
fi, Asira and Ansol among others.
most of the varieties are prune to bacteria wilt, the most common tomato
disease in Uganda. Bacterial wilt is a devastating as it affects the entire
As result, Bukalasa Agricultural College in
conjunction with Syngenta Uganda, a seedling company have grafted tomatoes that
can resist bacteria wilt and climate change.
Gelvan Kisolo Lule, the Principal of Bukalasa
Agricultural College explains that they grafted the tomatoes with disease
resistance seeds and high yielding seedlings to come up with good seedlings.
Kisolo says that they have embarked on
multiplying the grafted tomatoes to enable farmers access them to increase their
production. Kisolo hopes that the seedlings will be available to farmers in
June this year.
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The Luweero District Production Officer, Dr.
Andrew Kidda has welcomed the intervention, saying bacteria wilt has destroyed
several tomato gardens.
He however, asks the College to work with extension
officers to ensure to popularise the grafted tomatoes among farmers.
Magezi, a tomato farmer in Bukeeka village explains that bacteria wilt struck his
garden at the flowering stage and wiped out the garden within three days.
once the bacteria wilt breaks out in the garden, farmers have no option but to
uproot the plant.
asks the College to ensure that the grafted tomatoes are affordable and
accessible to farmers.
Godfrey Ssempebwa, a tomato farmer in Kikubajinja
village in Luweero town council, says they have tried to fight the disease
using pesticides in vain.
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Grafting of tomatoes involves three steps
namely, selection of the healthy tomato seedlings, cutting and merging of the
tomato plant (Grafting) and caring for the plant.
Last year, Dr. Africano Kangire, a plant
Pathologist at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) was
quoted by media, saying that they carried out a survey and found out that 80%
of the farmers interviewed were using soil contaminated with, bacteria wilt.
Kangire recommended that the farmers venture
into the grafting technique to try and resist bacteria wilt since there is no
chemical that can kill it.
She noted that with grafting, tomato farmers can
reduce pests and soil-borne diseases and increase yields by 50% without
conventional science grafting technology in tomatoes was launched at NaCCRI in
2018 to respond to the negative effect of bacterial wilt in tomatoes caused by
a soil borne pathogen (Ralstonia Solanacearum).