June 5, 2013

Coffee Twig Borer Invades Busoga Plantations

Sulaiman Mwangu, a coffee farmer in Nakabango village in Mafubira Sub County says he has lost about one acre of his plantation to the pest.

The black coffee twig borer has invaded coffee plantations in Busoga region leaving several farmers counting heavy losses. The borer attacks the twigs rendering the plant incapable of bearing coffee beans. When a twig borer attacks a coffee plant, it creates holes in it and causes a white fungus to grow around it. Sulaiman Mwangu, a coffee farmer in Nakabango village in Mafubira Sub County says he has lost about one acre of his plantation to the pest.He appeals for the urgent intervention of the district production department to control the pest. Cissy Kuliva, a farmer in Butagaya village says that he has lost three acres of his colonel coffee plantation to the pest. Kuliva claims that she tried cut down infected plants but the disease has persisted for the last six months.

Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, the Acting Jinja District Production Officer, says the problem has already been brought to the attention of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority – UCDA. Kiwemba says a combined team of UCDA officials and those from his office have already visited the affected areas for an on ground assessment.

The Black coffee twig borer first attacked coffee plantations in Bundibugyo district in 1994 before it spread to central Uganda. In 2008, the pest was reported in Kayunga district and now has spread to districts of Busoga along Lake Victoria and River Nile. The affected farmers are found in Butagaya, Budondo sub counties in Jinja district, Kisozi, Namasagali, Nawanyago, Bugulumbya, Kitayundwa and Namwendwa sub counties in Kamuli, and parts of Luuka and Mayuge districts.

James Magona, the UCDA coordinator in charge of Busoga region says Butagaya, Budondo, Kisozi and Namasagali sub counties are the worst hit. He says at least more that 15 farmers in each sub county have lost more than an acre of their coffee plantations. He urges farmers to burn the infested coffee plants, ensure field hygiene and spraying as emergency control measures.

Magona attributes the rate of the spread of the disease to lack of knowledge and capacity amongst farmers to control it

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