Farmers To Resume Cassava Growing

NWOYA – After a three-year cassava mosaic imposed lay-off, farmers will resume cassava growing in the northern district of Nwoya next year.

Farmers allied to Nwoya Rice and Cassava Cooperative Society Limited abandoned the crop after cassava mosaic ravaged their farms in 2019.

Several farmers lost more than 40 acres of cassava to the mosaic wilt disease.

Cassava mosaic is transmitted by whiteflies, which primarily infect cassava plants.

Interviewed for this story, Alfred Ocen, the chairperson of the cooperative, told theCooperator that members suspended cassava growing after losing millions of shillings.

“It was terrible at that time (2019) and it’s on that basis that we decided to suspend cassava growing for three years,” he said

“We were advised by some technical people. They said within three years the diseases will be no more in the soil and that is when we plan to resume,” he said.

“Of course we were affected in terms of resources we used in opening up the land but we immediately had to embark on growing soya bean and beans in addition to rice,” he said

One farmer, James Cherimo Okullu, said he did casual work to pay off a loan he got to open up land for cassava growing.

“It was a hustle to pay off the loan. I lost everything I had planted in the garden. But I have not lost hope in farming,” he added.

Okullu’s eight acres of cassava were wiped out by the cassava mosaic.

Kenneth Kitara, the district commercial officer, said, “We however, advised them to first put that land to rest for some time before they use it again. We also told them to plant other crops before they resume growing cassava,” he said.

“It was not only members of the cooperative who were affected, other farmers who grew cassava at that time were equally affected,” he said.

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