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Banana Bacterial Wilt Devastates Kabale District

Banana Bacteria Wilt disease, locally known as Kiwotoka, is mostly observed on plants after the maiden sucker stage. It is characterized by purse-like liquid, yellowing, wilting which starts with the leaves, and ripening of premature bananas. The destructive wilt has the capacity to wipe the plantation by over 90 percent.

Audio 4

A fresh outbreak of the Banana Bacterial Wilt has been reported in Maziba Sub County, Kabale district. The most affected areas include Birambo, Kavu, and Kahondo parishes.

Banana Bacteria Wilt disease, locally known as Kiwotoka, is mostly observed on plants after the maiden sucker stage. It is characterized by purse-like liquid, yellowing, wilting which starts with the leaves, and ripening of premature bananas. The destructive wilt has the capacity to wipe the plantation by over 90 percent.

Maziba Sub County was last hit by banana bacteria wilt in 2016. But according to farmers, many of their gardens are now infested; banana leaves are turning yellow, and banana stems are drying up. 

Jack Byaruhanga, one of the affected farmers says that the strain that has hit the area is resistant to pesticides and fears that the area will be hit by a shortage of food since bananas are a key source of food and livelihood in the area.  

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Burasidia Kyomukama, another affected farmer says she has lost about two acres of banana plantations to the Bacteria Wilt. Kyomukama is calling for government intervention to tame the wilt before it spreads further.

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Cue out…ahokugyiiha hakuburira."//

Maziba Sub County Agriculture Officer Charles Ssali Banyenzaki blames the re-occurrence of banana bacteria on the failure by farmers to comply with the control measures put in place by the Sub County leaders.

According to Ssali, the bylaws required farmers to always and carefully cut down all the affected plants from their gardens and bury them, to avoid further spread. A fine of 50,000 shillings would be slapped on any farmer who failed to implement the guidelines. However, Ssali says that all the by-laws were ignored.

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Kabale District Agriculture Officer Ronah Ayesiga says that the district has started sensitizing farmers on how to fight the disease, before spreading to other neighboring sub-counties.

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Cue out …bacteria wilt."//

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