Bushenyi. Four farmers in Bushenyi District were on Tuesday arrested over failure to control the spread of the banana bacterial wilt (BBW) disease in their plantations contrary to the district council by-law. The farmers were arrested in a joint operation launched by the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Isaac Kawooya, district agricultural officer Amon Natwebembera and the district vice chairperson, Mr Francis Tinkamanyire. The suspects are all residents of Kazigangoma cell, Swazi Parish Kyamuhunga in Igara West. Mr Kawooya told journalists the operation was meant to crackdown on residents who have failed the district in controlling the disease that is threatening the economic livelihood of farmers in the district. “These are economic saboteurs failing the government programme of Operation Wealth Creation. I can’t have mercy on them. We have several times sung control of BBW but people have deliberately refused to abide by the law. We are now sorting them out,” said Mr Kawooya. He said the operation which started this week will end on August 24. The officials will go through all sub-counties and divisions in the district. Mr Kamanyire said the fight against the disease has also been sabotaged by local politicians who concentrate on politicking rather than telling their electorate what to do for their economic survival. Mr Natwebembera said the by-law was made and ratified by the District Council on August 13, 2014. “We have on several times warned these farmers through the media and our public sensitisation meetings in their areas to fight the disease. We have also tried using our advance team to warn them against sabotaging government programmes but they have totally refused to comply. That’s why they have been arrested. They will serve as examples for others,” said Mr Natwebembera. He said the four will face trial after investigations. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/RDC-arrests-farmers-over-banana-wilt-disease/-/688334/2791596/-/s9mt8w/-/index.html
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The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.

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