Breaking

Govt Alarmed by High Demand for Pesticides

Stephen Byantwale Tibeijuka, the Acting Commissioner in charge of Crop Protection, says the Ministry of Agriculture is alarmed by the number of farmers asking to be supplied with pesticides. Byantwale says chemical pesticides are harmful to the environment, the users and to those who consume farm products, noting that pests could also develop resistance over time.

Audio 2

The government is warning farmers against the likely negative effect of agrochemicals in response to new pests like Fall Armyworm and other forms of caterpillars.

Stephen Byantwale Tibeijuka, the Acting Commissioner in charge of Crop Protection, says the Ministry of Agriculture is alarmed by the number of farmers asking to be supplied with pesticides.

Byantwale says chemical pesticides are harmful to the environment, the users and to those who consume farm products, noting that pests could also develop resistance over time. There are reports that some residents in Luweero are planning to protest against the agriculture ministry saying it has not intervened to contain two types of caterpillars spotted in the district.

A plague of hairy black caterpillars and green-tailed caterpillars have been sighted in different parts of Luweero sending panic among residents there. The emergence of the two types of caterpillars comes months after the outbreak of the Fall Armyworm.

Black tail caterpillars each have up to two million brown hairs which can break off into the air. The hair or black spines contain venom to ward off predators, but can also irritate human skin.

The green-tail caterpillars are said to be damaging a number of leafy-green plants in Luweero.  They are destroying coffee, banana and beans gardens in Kikyusa, Luweero, Butuntumula, Makulubita and Luweero Town Council.

The Ministry of Agriculture says the two types of caterpillars are actually from the forest caterpillar category. Byantwale says the Ministry is still assessing the situation before it can decide whether chemical action is necessary.

//Cue in: "Those are forest…

Cue out:… these issues cautiously."//

In Luweero, the caterpillars have caused injury to a number of people after their skin got into contact with the black-haired caterpillar. 

Byantwale urges those living in areas infested by the black-haired caterpillars to avoid skin contact with the hair or spikes from the moth. He says the government encourages an integrated pest management method before resorting to chemical application.

//Cue in: "Like now Luwero…

Cue out …and you kill them."//

The cost of pesticides or other chemicals are said to be expensive. Farmers risk losing up to fifty percent of their incomes if they opt to apply pesticides or other agrochemicals in responding to pests like the caterpillars in Luweero.