Isingiro Farmers Battle Deadly Eucalyptus Pest

2834 Views Mbarara, Uganda

In short
The disease manifests itself through lice like insects which eat up the green leaves before encroaching on the stem leading to the dying of the whole plant.

Farmers in the south western district of Isingiro are battling an outbreak of red gum lurp psyllid, a deadly pest that affects eucalyptus trees.

The outbreak of the disease has seen several acres of trees drying up in Nyakitunda Sub County, Isingiro Town Council, Kaberebere Town Council and Kabuyanda Sub County, among others.

The disease manifests itself through lice like insects which eat up the green leaves before encroaching on the stem leading to the dying of the whole plant. It first attacked Eucalyptus trees before spreading to other tree species trees such as pine and grevalia.

Justus Fenekansi, a resident of Kaberebere Town Council says that he has lost two acres of Eucalyptus trees to the pest which does not seem to respond to any kind of chemical.

George Tumwesigye another affected farmer from Birrere Sub County told our reporter that the rate at which the pests are eating up the trees is worrying. He says that his plantation has been attacked and the trees are drying at an alarming rate.

Emanuel Bwengye, a natural resources officer for Isingiro district says that the outbreak is a big blow to farmers in the area. He says that the exact diseases is yet to be verified but says that is usually referred to as eucalyptus lice.
 
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Bwengye says that the district has no resources to intervene in the situation but is instead advising the capable farmers to use a chemical known as Dimethoate to spray their plantations.  He adds that there are few farmers who have endeavored to spray and that this keeps the disease in the district.
 
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About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.