Ntungamo Pineapple Farmers Baffled by New Disease

The bacterial disease called mealybug has been reported in Nyongozi parish in Nyamukana Town council and affects the plant as small insects that put a web cover leaving it to dry.
affected pineapple

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Pineapple farmers in the Ntungamo district have decried a disease that has hit their gardens.

The disease called mealybug bacteria has been reported in Nyongozi parish in Nyamukana Town Council and affects the plant with small insects that put a web cover leaving it to dry.

The farmers say that the disease was first noticed in 2017 when they got pineapple seedlings from NAADs and have since been fighting it but in vain.

James Balikudembe, a pineapple farmer says that the disease escalates most in the dry season and when it rains the small insects are washed off the plant by rain waters.

He says they are then noticed in new gardens when it stops raining.

Jackline Kasande, a pineapple farmer in Kyangara Village Nyongozi Parish says that her four-acre pineapple garden was hit by the disease and she tried all pesticides but it has not helped.

She says that when the pineapple is hit while young it doesn’t grow or even ripe.

She says that the pesticides to use are expensive and has resorted to uprooting any attacked plant and burry it which she says has affected her household income.

//Cue in: “hariyo akakooko nika… 

Cue out: …ekikoro ekyakiine obukooko.”//

Justus Tayebwa, another pineapple farmer says he spends over 1,000,000 shillings on pesticides a year to spray but the disease is not reducing instead it keeps shifting to other gardens.

He says that they use furadan to spray and a litre goes for 25000 

//Cue in: “enanasi nizirwarira kimwe… 

Cue out: …nekicweka liter emwe.”// 

Esther Atwiine, Ntungamo district Agricultural officer confirms that the disease called mealybug wilt has been affecting pineapple growing in Ntungamo. She denied that the disease came with NAADS pineapples noting that its source is the effect of wetland encroachment.

She asks that farmers that have been effected should quickly remove those affected plants from the gardens.

She says farmers should accept the era of having fully organic crops has passeddue to climatic change, noting that farmers should start using sprays rather than losing their gardens to pests.

//Cue in: “even if you… 

Cue out: …ahabwa climate change.”//

She also advised the farmers to use the Sub County Crop Extension workers for advice in case the disease persists.

//Cue in: “let them come… 

Cue out: …bring the sample.”//

Nathan Mutungi chairperson Nyakihanga Fruit Farmers Cooperative Society also confirmed the disease noting that they sensitized farmers on how to handle it when it hits a garden

There are about 500 pineapple farmers in Nyongozi town council alone. 


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