By Moris Mumbere,
Kasese: Mango farmers specializing in NAADS mangoes are count losses following a threatening disease that has affected mangoes belonging to different farmers in the entire irrigation scheme and different sub counties in the district.The programs which come under operation wealth program as one of president’s initiative specializing in different varieties which mainly are Mangoes, pineapples, bananas, maize and coffee but Mango farmers in Kasese district are counting loses due to an influx of fruit flies that have caused fruit damage.
According to research made indicate that most affected farmers are in the irrigated land of Mubuku Irrigation Scheme, Karusandara and Kitswamba sub-counties among areas that have been visited.
In an interview with one of the angry farmers Vincent Karyarugogo, a farmer in Mubuku Irrigation Scheme said he has missed two years in different seasons in his two acres of mangoes have continued rotting yet a lot of money has been spent in buying chemicals for spraying to the affected mangoes to fight the disease and observing sanitation of the farm.
“I used to collect three bags of mangoes everyday but currently I always visit the garden to pick rotten mangoes and spraying so that the disease don’t continue which was not the happening previously” Vincent said.
According to the production officer in the irrigation scheme and the Trainer in-charge of Mubuku Irrigation scheme Mr. James Womme all acres of mangos are affected but those registered are at least 60 farmers in the irrigated land alone with different acreage of land including the former minister of defense Dr. Crispus Kiyonga who has the biggest and largest mango farm were affected.
“The influx disease is not caused by poor maintenance but this disease has been difficult to fight since most of those who influenced us to plant mangoes like Kiyonga have also been affected yet money has been available to treat the disease” james said.
Different farmers attribute the strange disease on different manufactures who sell farmers pesticides which do not perform well on certain diseases which has kept farmers to develop hope in drugs which don’t react positively on certain disease.
Yusuf Balinda, another mango farmer in Kitswamba I village in Busongora North Constituency who said that he had grown the mangoes for over 10 years attributed the problem to fake insecticides.
He asked the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to regulate the trade of counterfeit insecticides.
Jonathan Bwarugaba, a councilor to Rukooki sub-county who also doubles as a farmer blamed the District Agricultural Officer who he said was not visiting the farmers to guide them on how to handle the influx before multiplying.
Maj.katusabe john the operation wealth creation coordinator Kasese municipality confirmed the incident saying same times the influx may be resistant to the pesticide used by same farmers.
“Same farmers use duplicated drugs and apply them on diseases which doesn’t deal with the effect which finally don’t react positive on the flies which enter the mangoes and the end result every farm in the neighbor wood get affected” Maj. katusabe said.
How hope developed into hearts of farmers and how to control the influx.
After a long alarm by farmers in the district the Kasese District Agricultural Officer in-charge of Horticulture, Johnson Mwesige Sabuni called the senior research officer Entomologist principle investigator mango fruit in the National Agricultural Research Laboratories Dr. Caroline Nankinga to talk to farmers since the mango is one of the most tropical fruits in the world much of its production being threatened by insects, pests and diseases.
Dr. Caroline Nankinga, the Senior Research Officer Entomologist and Principal Investigator Mango Fruit fly at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories Kawanda said that the Ministry of Agriculture plans to introduce the Biological Control Natural Enemy Parasitoid Fopius Arisanus pest that would destroy the eggs of the female fruit fly.
Dr. Nankinga told the press separately that the countries like Hawai Island and some African countries like Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mauritius and Zambia have adopted area-wide integrated pest management programs and have succeeded in alleviating the fruit fly pest problems.
In a meeting with farmers at Mubuku irrigation farm head office Dr. Nankinga observed that most farmers treat what they don’t know which continue developing yet pesticides are being applied.
“Most of you farmers are fighting a male fruit fly leaving the female and the eggs lied on the mangoes which the male fertilizes and continue multiplying” Dr. Nankinga said.
Dr. Nankinga narrated that; several control options which when integrated and carried out diligently can control fruit flies under economically damaging levels.
Among those controls is Orchard sanitation which requires a farmer to remove fruits with dimples and oozing sap, this method is more effective although laborious than picking rotten fruits from the ground as the maggots may have left the fruits to pupate in the soil.
Dr. Nankinga further advised farmers to harvest the mango fruits when mature green, if the mango orchard is in the low fruit fly prevalence area or where control practices are practiced judiciously, some of these mature green fruits may have escaped fruit fly attack and you can get non infected fruits.
Another method is to collect and destroy fallen and damaged ripe fruit by burying them at least 2ft deep to eliminate the possible breeding site, alternatively you can put the fruit in plastic bags and exposing them to the sun to suffocate at the young stage of the fruit flies.
Kasese District Agricultural Officer in-charge of Horticulture, Johnson Mwesige Sabuni said that the population of fruit flies in the district has been high as farmers try to trap more using locally fabricated trap.
He said community awareness campaigns should therefore be enforced to sensitize farmers on the losses caused by the fruit fly, and the complex of other pests and diseases found on farmers’ fields so as to trigger action for control.
Plan from farmers
Most of the affected farmer among them being Godfrey Buzira hailing from Karusandara sub-county said he was planning to cut down his two acres of mango plantations after failing to get good harvests due to mango fruit flies with plans of trying other crops which can generate money.
About the fruit fly,
Fruit fly adults and larvae (maggots) cause fruit damage, Egg-laying females puncture the fruit surface and the eggs hatch within 2-4 days and larva live and tunnel through the fruit, larval feeding causes premature fruit drop and destroys the pulps of the fruit.
The fruit eventually rots making it unsuitable for human consumption, when the larva are ready to pupate they immerge from the fruit and drop to the ground then the pupae develop in the soil beneath the host, the pupae stage last for a bout ten days before immerging into adults and the cycle begins again, the whole life cycle will take between 28-35 days depending on the environmental conditions.