Uganda: Cassava Disease Threatens Food Security
By Bill Oketch
KOLE/APAC- Researchers have warned of a serious threat posed by cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), saying it could cause food insecurity in Lango.
The worst hit areas are Chegere Sub-county in Apac District and Bala Sub-county in Kole District, where nearly 100 per cent of residents are farmers. Many famers interviewed by this newspaper do not know the origin of this disease.
Dr Settumba Mukasa, the principle investigator with Cassava Community Action Research Project (cassava CARP) at Makerere University, told Daily Monitor that more than 500 farmers in the affected areas had reported “challenges of rotting tuberous roots.”
He said the farmers were feeling the pain because the disease is now infecting their local variety known as bao previously believed to be immune to the disease.
“So the only solution is to destroy all the affected plants, look out for clean planting materials from reliable sources,” Dr Mukasa said.
Ms Lillian Mercy Apio of Women of Uganda Network confirmed that many women in Bala have resorted to maize flour as a source of food for their families.
Ms Sarah Okello, 34, a cassava farmer in Bala, has for 15 years relied on cassava as a cash crop but her dreams of becoming a commercial farmer have been dashed by the disease.
Ms Okello had two gardens of cassava but most of the tubers have rotted after they were hit by the disease. She is at a loss as to how she will continue feeding and educating her three children.
Since the outbreak of the disease, cassava CARP has established five mother gardens: three in Lango and two in Teso to provide cassava farmers with clean planting materials.
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