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Home News Farmers Worried Over Outbreak Of cassava Brown Streak

Farmers Worried Over Outbreak Of cassava Brown Streak

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By Peter Abaanabasazi

Farmers in Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima district are counting losses following the outbreak of cassava brown streak disease, which is ravaging cassava gardens.

The disease affects the plant as it matures, causing the tubers to rot. When uprooted, the tubers taste bitter, with a foul smell.

Yeyeri Kwekyandya, a farmer from Karungu village, said they are likely to face famine as a result of the outbreak.

She said she had lost half an acre of cassava to the strange disease.

Kwekyandya said she discovered the cassava disease attack in September after the leaves of her plants started changing colour.

She added that the affected plant is characterised by severe chlorosis and necrosis on the leaves, giving them a yellowish, mottled appearance.

Pascal Tinkamanyire, another farmer in Mariga village, said the sub-county is also facing another disease outbreak that makes the plant not to develop tubers.

He said he planted one acre of cassava, but that at the time of harvesting, he was shocked to find that the plants had no tubers.

Tinkamanyire said the sub-county is likely to face hunger because of this problem and called on government to get the farmers another cassava variety, which is resistant to such diseases.

He said another challenge that farmers faced was the lack of access to the extension services, yet the extension workers could have advised on what to do.

James Mugisa, another farmer, said the area is also suffering from banana disease, which he said destroyed several plantations.

He said when the disease attacks a banana plant, the leaves become yellow and the plant eventually dries up.

The farmers expressed their worry during a joint plant and animals’ clinic that was conducted in the area by the Hoima district production department to empower farmers with farming skills and new technology.

During the clinic, farmers brought in their domestic animals for diagnosis and vaccination, and plants for free consultation.

Steven Kibego, the Kigorobya sub-county extension worker who facilitated the joint plant and animals’ clinic, confirmed that the area has been facing cassava brown streak and cassava soft root for the last two years.

“Cassava soft root is characterised by a foul smell and the darkening of the affected tissues, with liquid exudation, while cassava brown streak disease affects the tuber, making it unfit for consumption,” Kibego explained.

He also confirmed that the area has banana bacterial wilt, which causes a banana plant to rot.

Dr Patrick Ndorwa, the Hoima district veterinary officer, said they hope that the clinic will equip the farmers with technology, which will help them fight against the disease and practice modern farming.

Hoima district chairman Kadiri Kirungi expressed concern over the low turn up of the farmers at the clinic, yet it was free entrance.

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