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