Publication date: Wednesday, 14th July, 2004

SOLUTION: All infected bananas must be cut down and uprooted to prevent new suckers

By Ronald Kalyango

THE National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has started training farmers how to control the deadly Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW) where it is rampant.


It also intends to guide farmers how to prevent it in the districts where it has not spread. While addressing residents of Bamunanika and Zirobwe sub-counties, Dr. Norah Odoyi, a Kawanda-based banana researcher, said the best way of averting the wilt is by breaking off all the male flower buds as soon as the fruits have formed.

“If the disease appears, cut down the stem and dig up all the affected plant so that it does not produce any new suckers then dig a hole where the plant was growing and bury all of the pieces completely,” she advised. She said if a farmer cannot dig a hole and bury the pieces, then he should heap them into a mound, cover them with leaves and leave them to rot for at least six months before disturbing the mound. “After cutting a diseased plant or digging in the locality you must sterilise the tools to avoid carrying the infection to other plants. Wipe them thoroughly with a dilute disinfectant such as jik or alcohol like waragi or heat them up in a fire.

Odoyi urged local farmers to be vigilant and not allow farmers to introduce infected planting materials in their own plantations.

However, reports coming in from other parts of the country indicate that Kiboga district has been devastated by the disease and the infected planting material came from several villages in Bukomero sub-county.

The disease known to have begun in Bulyanti village, Kyabaala parish, in Mukono district in September 2001 has spread to 19 districts and

is spreading fast but NARO is effectively handling the situation.


This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/9/37/372168

Publication date: Wednesday, 28th April, 2004

HUGE: Conway admires a bunch of banana at Kawanda

GENETICALLY modified banana cultvars will soon be released from Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) to curb the banana bacterial wilt disease.

The disease, among other production constraints, has limited banana production countrywide. This was said by Dr. Otim Nape the director general of NARO.


He was briefing the Rockefeller foundation president, Dr. Gordon Conway recently during the latter’s visit to NARO’s Bio-technology research Centre at KARI.


The breakthrough is yet another outstanding research achievement to contribute to food security and increase people’s incomes, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.


The foundation also contributed immensely to the eradication of the cassava mosaic disease. “It is no longer a secret, we are going to release the first GM banana cultivars. It will solve many of our production constraints especially the banana bacterial wilt disease that had decimated our bananas in many parts of the country,” Nape said.


He said the GM banana is environmentally sound and safe for human consumption having satisfied all the bio-safety conditions.


Conway was visiting the areas which the Rockefeller foundation is supporting. He said Uganda is among the leading countries in sub-Saharan Africa doing research on bio-technology, now a key branch in development-oriented research.


He hailed NRO for cooperating with other stakeholders, notably the private sector, communities and other public institutions in developing and dissemination of research technologies.


“This is a very brilliant idea for NARO to have its technologies easily taken on by farmers and the private sector to foster development,” he said citing the linkage with banana researchers, farmers and processors who add value to the produce.


He attracted a bout of laughter when he frowned at the high concentration of the liquor produced from the new banana cultivars. He said that partnering is the only way to empower the sectors to do their best. This way, the communities will easily transform from subsistence to market-oriented faming.


The minister of state for agriculture, industry and fisheries Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa said that the government’s liberalisation and privatisation policy was slowly but surely bearing fruit to monetise the economy, with the private sector taking the lead in demanding for development.


“Vanilla, moringa, aloe vera, among others have all been developed by the private sector. It is now a challenge to NARO and universities to train people who can answer the people’s demands such as disease management skills, access to clean planting materials, among others,” Kisamba said.


He appealed to Conway to attract more development partners to come and join hands with Ugandans, to fulfil the country’s development obligations. The Rockefeller foundation is among the major development partners supporting research in soil fertility management, capacity-building, developing improved crop varieties and lately, the processing and marketing of the produce.


Ends


This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/9/37/356696

About the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL)

  • Welcome message from the Director
  • Research Programmes:
  • Core Values of NARL

Background:

Formerly a rubber estate, the institute was acquired in 1934 from K. Borup, a Danish farmer. It became the headquarters of research division of the Department of Agriculture in 1937 with a mandate to conduct research on coffee, tea, cotton and native food crops. The 630 hectare station located13km north of Kampala became the hub for scientific investigations for African agriculture to make it more productive and economically viable.

The institute has undergone several transformations both in naming and core research mandates and activities over the years. Currently, it is one of the six National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs established by the NAR Act 2005) under the dispensation of the National Agricultural Research organization.

Our Mandate

Conducting research and providing services on soils, agro-meteorology and Environment; bananas; biosystems and agricultural engineering; food science and agribusiness; and biodiversity and biotechnology

Our Goal:  Agricultural productivity and household incomes increased through use of improved technologies and practices

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  Research Programmes:

Implementation of activities is organized in five research programmes and an information and documentation unit supported by an administration unit:

  • Soils, Agro-meteorology and Environment Research Programme,
  • Banana Research Programme,
  • Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Research Programme,
  • Food Biosciences and Agribusiness Research Programme,
  • Biodiversity and Biotechnology Programmes.

Hosted institutions:

  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  •   International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  •   Korean Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA)
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Core Values of NARL:

  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Market responsiveness
  • Client oriented
  • Demand driven
  • Sustainability
  • Integrity
  • Gender sensitivity
  • Transparency
  • Environment consciousness

Institute expected outputs

NARL’s activities are premised on the following outputs:

  • Tools, recommendations and technologies for improved soil and water management, sustainable land use and resilience to climate change
  • Improved banana varieties and other technologies for enhancing banana productivity and utilization
  • Technologies and practices that enhance conservation and utilization of genetic resources
  • Processes, systems and products that enhance market value of agricultural commodities
  • Biosystems and agricultural engineering products that improve agricultural production efficiency
  • Impact at specified sites created through multi-stakeholder innovation platforms
  • Information systems that support agricultural research and development
  • World class infrastructure and management systems that strengthen generation and promotion of outputs
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Vision

To be a centre of excellence generating and promoting appropriate agricultural technologies

Mission

To generate and promote agricultural technologies and improve productivity, value addition, income and food security

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