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.

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