Residents who fail to uproot and destroy suckers infected banana sucker will be fined shillings 30,000 for each sucker.
Kanungu district local government has passed a resolution to punish residents who fail to take steps to control the spread of the Banana Bacterial Wilt-BWT disease. Residents who fail to uproot and destroy infected banana sucker will be fined shillings 30,000, for each sucker. The decision follows a report by Kanungu district production and marketing department showing that the disease has ravaged plantations in almost all sub counties in the district.
As a result, Kanungu district authorities contend that the only way to wipe out the BWT disease is to ensure that all residents get involved. Richard Habomugisha, the Kanungu District Agricultural Officer says despite the fact that disease spreads fast, it would have been contained if residents were following instructions given to them by extension workers.
While launching, the new initiative to fight the disease last week, Canon Ben Rullonga, Kanungu Resident District Commissioner of food security problems if all banana plantations in the district are wiped out. He said farmers with affected banana plantations had been given two weeks to cut them down and bury the suckers before the authorities swing into action and deal with those who will defy the directive.
Rullonga warns that they will not spare anybody who defies the directive, adding that most farmers have been taking similar directives for granted, which has led to heavy losses for other farmers. Mellon Marere, a farmer from Rugyeyo Sub County says that despite the fact that local methods of controlling the disease work well, they lose meaning when most farmers fail to comply. She has welcomed the initiative by the district authorities to fined farmers found keeping infected banana suckers.
Maari Tumwesigye, another farmer from Kambugu Sub County says that he has successfully used local methods to control the spread of the disease. He is however worried that his banana plantations will be affected because most of his neighbors have deliberately refused to cut down infected plants. John Muhiimai, Kanungu district Vice chairperson cites political interference as one of the biggest obstacles they have to overcome to wipe out the disease. He accuses some politicians of rushing to plead for the release of offenders once they arrested for violating legitimate directives.