Strange Caterpillars Ravage Gardens in Rukungiri

1903 Views Rukungiri, Western Region, Uganda

In short
The caterpillars, with tufts of hair measuring up to 30 millimeters, were first sighted in Nyarushanje Sub County last month where they invaded gardens feeding on cassava leaves, yams, bananas, cabbage, mangoes, sweet potatoes, coffee and other agro-forestry shrubs.

Farmers in Rukungiri district are troubled by the emergency of strange caterpillars that have ravaged several crop gardens in the area.

The caterpillars, with tufts of hair measuring up to 30 millimeters, were first sighted in Nyarushanje Sub County last month where they invaded gardens feeding on cassava leaves, yams, bananas, cabbage, mangoes, sweet potatoes, coffee and other agro-forestry shrubs.

They later spread to parts of Buyanja Sub County, Kebisoni Sub County and Rukungiri Municipality in Rukungiri district and the area from Rubaare in Ntungamo district.

Edwin Muranye, one of the farmers from Nyarushanje Sub County says the caterpillars have destroyed two acres of his banana plantation. Muranye says the caterpillars have so far been resistant to ambush pesticide which he used as an emergency intervention.

Muranye fears that the caterpillars may trigger an outbreak of famine in the area.
 
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Rukungiri District Production Officer Zepher Karyeija says that the district production and agriculture department has not yet confirmed the exact kind of the caterpillars ravaging gardens in the area.  He however suspects that the caterpillars have features and eating habits similar to the brown tail moth.

Rukungiri Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Kyoma Sande says that his office has written to the office of the Commissioner of Crop Protection in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for immediate intervention with a pesticide that can kill the caterpillars.

Sande fears that the caterpillars will create an economic injury to both farmers and the district.

 

About the author

Samuel Amanya
Samuel Amanya is the Kigezi Region URN bureau chief. Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri districts fall under his docket. Samuel Amanya has been a Uganda Radio Network reporter since August 2016. Before becoming a URN staff reporter, Amanya had written for the network for several years as a freelancer.


Amanya was also a Voice of Kigezi reporter from 2011 to 2016.


A journalism graduate from African College of Commerce Kabale, Amanya values his independence. Amanya says URN is a home for his talent because it lets him explore his journalistic interests without limits.

Amanya is fascinated by the crime beat and some of his best stories have come out of that interest. Amanya says he aims to be all round beat reporter.