Shs 5 billion Banana Bacterial Wilt Action Plan to be Launched

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The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Hon. Tress Buchanayandi, has unveiled a plan by government t to combat Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW).  While addressing members of the press at Uganda Media Centre March 25, 2013, said that the launch BBW will take place at Bukiro Sub County Trading Centre, Mbarara District on 11th-12th April, 2013.  Buchanayandi was accompanied by  the State Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Zerubabel Nyiira, the Executive Director NAADs, Sam Mugasi, the Commissioner Crop Protection, Kumayombi Bulegeya, the Commissioner Crop Production, Beatrice Byarugaba and the Director Crop Resources, Mr. Ocaasai Opolot.

 The minister  gave a brief on bananas by saying that it is a major cash and food crop for 17million people in rural and urban areas within Central, Eastern and Western regions. He added that the per capita consumption of bananas is between 220-460kg, which is the highest in the world. “Bananas are constant sources of food and income partly because they fruit all year round. Bananas are on high demand within the national and regional markets, an important attribute for commercialization and employment opportunities,”  Buchanayandi said.

He added that equaled to other crops like maize and coffee, in a similar farming system, bananas have profitability of more than one and a half times, therefore making it among the 10 priority enterprises targeted in the contribution to national food, income security and sustainable natural resource management.

“In 2008, banana production declined drastically and has never recovered since,” Buchanayandi said. According to stakeholders, banana bacterial wilt is the number one constraint amid other problems limiting banana productivity.
MAAIF has been reviewing an earlier BBW control strategy and action plan to address the new challenges since the Presidential Conference early last year. The ministry has also introduced its implementation framework through the National Steering Committee and is being supported by the World Bank within the ATAAS framework with seed funding. Buchanayandi emphasized  the goal is to reduce BBW prevalence from the current 42% to 5% within one year under the theme,“Kick Banana Bacteria wilt out of Uganda.”

 Buchanayandi further said that there will be six outputs of this action plan include mobilization of communities to control BBW , capacity to control BBW built through sharing experience and using advanced technology, information on BBW transmission and control disseminated, demonstration of existing cost effective and farmer user friendly technologies, legal framework for control of BBW and monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of control activities.  

For the coordination mechanism for BBW control initiative, Mr. Buchanayandi also said that a steering committee at the National level  which will serve as the top-most organ overseeing implementation of the strategy and action plan for BBW control. He then added there will also be a technical committee to guide implementation of the disease control activities. Then at the local government level, Mr. Buchanayandi said that BBW control activities would be coordinated by zonal platforms established in each of the major banana growing areas.

- Gladys Kanyana

Click here to view article on  Uganda Media Centre

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