The continued spread of banana bacterial wilt in Kyenjojo district has caused a slump in the lucrative banana juice business.
Banana bacterial wilt affects the whole tree, causing fruit to ripen very early and drying up buds.
In Kyenjojo, production of banana juice, locally known as ‘ensande', is brisk business. Hundreds of people in Kyarusozi, Kayihura and Katooke sub-counties use sour bananas called ‘embire' to make the juice for sale. In most cases the juice is then fermented and sold as beer.
A bottle of the banana juice costs between 700 and 1,500 shillings.
The three sub-counties where the banana juice is produced are among those most affected by bacterial wilt.
Richard Mwesige, a farmer and juice processor, says the disease destroyed his entire banana plantation. He says that as a result his 100-bottle-a-day juice production has been cut in half.
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Deborah Nyakaisiki a banana farmer in Kayihura, says that at the peak of her business, she was making a good living supplying bananas to the juice and beer producers. She says banana bacterial wilt has crippled her trade and she plans to abandon it in favor of poultry farming.
Nyakaisiki says the Kyenjojo agricultural department hasn't done enough to sensitize farmers on how to stop the spread of the disease despite its prevalence.