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More Bushenyi Farmers Abandon Matooke For Tea Growing

Statistics available at the Bushenyi district production department indicate that 20 percent of the 251,400 people are abandoning banana growing opting for tea after suffering loses as a result of banana bacteria wilt disease.

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The continued menace of the destructive Banana Wilt Disease is driving more farmers in Bushenyi to abandon Banana cultivation for Tea.

The most affected areas are Bitooma, Kyamuhunga and Nyarubaare sub counties all in Bushenyi district.

This Uganda Radio Network (URN) reporter visited Nyarubaare Sub County and found many farmers in the process of cutting down their banana plantations  to replace them with tea.

Statistics available at the Bushenyi district production department indicate that 20 percent of the 251,400 people are abandoning banana growing opting for tea after suffering loses as a result of banana bacteria wilt disease.

Banana growing in Bushenyi district stands at 84 percent covering 2.000 square kilometers of land out of the 3,949 square kilometers of the district land coverage.

Joab Twebaze, the LCV councilor representing Nyarubaare sub county, says prominent farmers like Muhumuza Kahangire have already cut down over 10 acres of Banana plantation and embarked on planting tea.

Twebaze attributes this partly to effects of banana bacteria wilt disease that has hit the region for years reducing banana production to ruins.

Twebaze worries that the shift to tea growing could spell disaster in the future because most farmers have small pieces ofn land and would have to channel their efforts to growing one crop. If more farmers choose to grow tea, this could cause food shortage.

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Benon Aruho another resident of Nyabubaare Sub County told URN that he decided to cut down his five acres of banana plantations after failing to realize his dream of becoming rich out selling matooke. Aruho like other farmers in the area says they moving to growing tea at large scale because of the competitive market in the area.

Bushenyi district has four tea factories that have made green tea competitive.

David Bainomugisha, the Bushenyi district production coordinator, says as an immediate intervention to prevent food insecurity, they have recruited 30 extension workers at grass root level to guide the farmers to have faster growing food crops alongside tea growing for commercial purposes.

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One of the policies put in place by Bushenyi district council is that each house hold is required to have a minimum of 1 acre of banana plantation and the remaining land can be put to use for other income generating enterprises like coffee, tea, dairy farm and poultry.

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