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Bukalasa Agricultural College Embarks on Multiplication of Grafted Tomatoes

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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.
25 Feb 2020 17:50
Godfrey Tumusiime a greenhouse attendant at Bukalasa Agricultural College checking on grafted tomato cherries

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Bukalasa 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 maximize profits.  

Currently, 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.   

However, 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 plant system. 

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.

Joseph 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.

He says once the bacteria wilt breaks out in the garden, farmers have no option but to uproot the plant.

Magezi 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 spraying.     

The 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).

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