By Joshua Nahamya
A strange banana disease has broken out in Ntungamo, Rwampara and Isingiro districts affecting several farmers.
The disease reported in the areas of Kayonza, Rwentobo-Rwahi town council, Mirima and Ruhaama among others affects the colour of the banana fingers and bunches, turning them brown or black.
Some of the farmers say the affected plant bunches ripen prematurely and remain hard and inedible when cooked. Fedelis Kiiza a farmer in Kafunjo-Mirama town council says his entire banana plantation has been affected. He says agricultural extension officers in the area are of no help now, since they are yet to ascertain the type of disease.
Peace Kaconco a farmer from Rubaare says the disease has affected the whole source of her livelihood.
Ntungamo district Agricultural officer Esther Atwiine says samples of the affected bananas have been taken to Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute for investigations on what the disease could be. Atwiine meanwhile advises farmers to destroy the affected banana trees as a way of checking the disease spread in the meantime.
Albert Mugabe the Ntungamo District Production Officer says agricultural extension officers have been tasked to inspect the various banana plantations and destroy the affected plants as a mitigation measure for now.