By Wetondo Denis Julius
Coffee farmers in Sironko, Bulambuli and Bududa district are counting losses due to the outbreak of die back disease.
Dieback though not technically considered a disease is physiological problem that causes cherries to ripen prematurely and become hard and black. They eventually fall off prematurely.
When this reporter visited the affected areas on Monday 5th October 2020, he met James Gudoyi, a coffee farmer from Bumasabo Sub County in Bulambuli district who said that the disease makes the coffee plant to shed off all berries, leaves and later dries up.
He added that the disease started in August this year and he has tried to use ash by pouring on coffee leaves thinking that the disease can be chased but nothing up to now.
Stephen Madagi, another coffee farmer from Bugitimwa Sub County in Sironko district also blamed sub county extension workers for doing less sensitization on how to prevent the disease claiming that their area hard to reach because a poor road network.
He adds that since they are ignorant on how to prevent the disease, the outbreak is spreading rapidly to other sub counties in the district like Gombe town council, Bumasifwa, Buwalasi, Buchabo and Bubeze.
Madagi also urged government to respond quickly to the matter arguing that coffee growing will be decline in the nearby future in Bugisu.
Stephen Wamusi, also a coffee farmer from Bushika Sub County in Bududa said that since coffee is the only cash crop in Bagisu, they are going face a problem of educating their children and boosting their incomes since most of the coffee plants are drying up.
James Nandala, the LCIII chairperson of Bugitimwa Sub County however refutes claims that extension workers are not sensitizing farmers on agricultural programs.
He adds that it’s this covid19 period which has stopped extension workers from accessing farmers since ministry of health encourages on social distance.
However, Michael Wodeje, the Buchabo sub county agricultural officer urged farmers to improve on nutrient management like nitrogen, potassium and magnesium as the best way to chase the disease.
He warned farmers against pouring ash in the garden thinking that it’s a solution saying that they can access their nearby sub county agricultural officers to seek more technical advice and recommendation of chemicals they can use.