Banana Rust Thrips Disease Spreads to Rukiga

The disease has affected several banana plantations in Bukinda, Kamwezi, and Rwamucucu sub-counties and Muhanga town council.
How a banana affected by rust thrips disease looks like (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 4

Farmers in Rukiga district are worried about their plantations following the spread of the Banana rust thrips disease to their area. The disease has affected several banana plantations in Bukinda, Kamwezi, and Rwamucucu sub-counties and Muhanga town council. 

An infected plant starts with changing from green to black and hardens. The bananas lose taste if cooked. As the affected fruits continue to grow, sometimes the peel cracks causing scarring. Affected bananas do not ripen even when cut and folded to ripen.  

Alex Ndamurira, a farmer from Karorwa in Bukinda sub-county says that the disease was cited in Bukinda in July this year and later spread to neighbouring Kamwezi and Rwamucucu sub-counties and Muhanga town council.  Ndamurira says that he did not bother to find out why the bananas were changing colour until he cooked one and found the taste bad.

Erias Bitungwabariho, a farmer from Kamwezi sub-county says that because the bananas have a different colour that looks like rust, buyers are rejecting to buy them.

Bitungwabariho says that late last month, agriculture officials from sub-county visited some of the affected gardens but did not offer any advice on how the spread of the disease can be controlled.

 //Cue in bananas is affected…

Cue out: …for this.”//


// Cue in: “ebitokye birweire kandi…

Cue out: …baturondere omubazi.”//

Henry Mumubweire another farmer from Kamwezi sub-county wants district agriculture officials to intervene and provide solutions before the disease completely ravages the banana plantations since it is their major source of food and income.

Leonard Katwesigye, Rukiga District Production, and Marketing Officer says that the department had scheduled mass sensitization of farmers through local radio talk shows on how to manage the disease.   He advises farmers to cut and bury the affected plants and fruits to reduce the spread. 

He also says that the farmers should avoid planting crops that host rust thrips causing insects like tomatoes and beans near banana plantations.

//Cue in: “the management is…

Cue out: …that disease.”// 


//Cue in: “nokureeba ngu twayegyeesa…

Cue out: ….nibwika kukyendeera.”//

Before spreading to Rukiga, the disease had ravaged banana plantations in Nyarushanje, Buyanja and Nyakagyeme sub-counties in Rukungiri district and Sheema district.