Rare Parasitic Weed Destroys Busoga Coffee
Over 1000 acres of coffee plantations in Bugiri and Iganga districts have been hit by the Dder parasitic weed.
The weed crawls all over the entire plant making it hard to acquire photosynthesis required to form green leaves.
Coffee farmers have expressed fear that they are likely to get a low yield this year as a result of the invasion of their plantations by the weed.
Abdu Musoga, a farmer In Nampirika village, expressed fear that he will be afflicted by poverty this year after all his twenty acres got invaded by the dder weed.
Musoga said he entirely relies on coffee farming in order to get funds to clear his electricity bills, water besides paying school fees for his children and other house hold needs.
“I had expected to get over 5000 kilograms from my coffee but now everything is gone because of this weed,” he said.
Previously Musoga used to earn Shs2.5 million from the sale of his coffee during every harvest season.
Some farmers suspect the weed is being imported into their areas of operation by people from elsewhere who are jealous of their success.
John Tenywa, a model farmer in Bukyaye village, Nakalama Sub County in Iganga said some jealous farmers in other parts of the district were hiring young children to drop the weed on their coffee plants to ensure they also register loses.
Tenywa urged the ministry of agriculture to come up with a solution to ensure the weed is completely wiped out.
“Let them get us a pesticide that can wipe out the weed so that we come back to our feet like it was in the past,” he said.
The District Agricultural Officer Iganga, Sula Nantatya said farmers have been advised to manually pull off the weed from the affected crop, dry it before burning it down as efforts are underway secure a solution to the problem.
Nantatya refuted allegations that the weed was being imported into other sub counties by a section of farmers who were jealous of the success stories of others in different areas.
The District Production Officer Bugiri, Paul Isiko said the dder parasitic weed covers the canopy of a plant making it hard to get food nutrients required.
“The host plant cannot produce required yields because it’s being starved by the weed,” he said.
He said the parasitic weed which really affects a crop yield is also known for crawling on trees like jack fruit, ovacado, guavas causing a devastating effect.
The LC 5 chairman Bugiri, Hajji Marijani Azalwa said farmers in the district are likely to be bit by poverty as a result of the invasion by the weed since majority rely on farming in order to earn a living.
The Principal Science Chemical Officer Ministry Of Science Technology and Innovation, Peter Dhamuzungu urged farmers to always pull the weed from their crops using hoes or hands besides pruning the host plant as one way of reducing on its spread.
Dhamuzungu said farmers have always been advised to also plant
grasses, monocots, legumes or shrubs which are hostile to the weed.
He said if detected early farmers can spray their affected crops with post emergency herbicides in order to wipe out the weed from the affected crops.
“In case the weed is pulled off from the host crop, it can take up to five to ten days to die off,” he said.