Mediterranean Fruit Flies Ravage Citrus Gardens in Nwoya

Richard Okello, a farmer from Lii sub-county explains that he earns over at least 1.5 million shillings from oranges during cold season but the strange flies have cut off his income stream.
A mated female of the Mediterranean fruit fly seen burrowing into the peel of the fruit on a host plant - Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 4

The mediterranean fruit flies, have ravaged citrus gardens in Nwoya district.  The flies cause the fruits to turn yellow and drop early.

Among the affected sub-counties are Lungulu; Kochgoma, Lii, Alero, Purongo and Anaka – which has left a section of farmers counting losses.

Richard Okello, a farmer from Lii sub-county explains that he earns over at least 1.5 million shillings from oranges but the flies have affected his income. 

//Cue in: “My perennial citrus…

Cue out…yellow in colour.”//

Lucy Adong, another farmer in Kalang village in Kochgoma Sub County reveals notes that her half an acre of citrus field is already pest-ridden which has affected her dreams of reaping big from the perennial crop.  

The Kochgoma sub-county Agriculture Officer, Mark Maktunu says that the mated female flies attack cultivated citrus fruits by laying eggs under the peel or flesh of the fruit on a host plant, causing damages that lead to significant economic losses.

//Cue in: “Citrus fruit flies…

Cue out…attacking them.”// 

Philip Mungujakisa, a farmer facilitator with Midway Consultancy Firm & Associates explains that the flies’ larvae hatch and burrow inside the fruit flesh to feed on the pulp that renders it unfit for human consumption yet citrus fruits especially oranges and lemons are an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

//Cue in: “The Mediterranean fruit flies …

Cue out…and domestic market.”//

Mungujakisa advised farmers to practice good sanitation to get rid of the decomposing fruits and mulching citrus gardens to limit alternative host plants for the flies and their larvae.

//Cue in: “There should be…

Cue out…host plants for them.”//  

Nwoya District Agriculture Officer, Alfred Kilama says that the extension workers are training farmers on integrated pest management and biological control techniques.

He added that limited spraying of groves with targeted pesticide and mass trapping technique (Pheromone Traps), best applied at low pest levels to trap the male flies make females lay sterile eggs and reduces the fly population.  

According to Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO, citrus and citrus products are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre (non-starch) that are essential for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being.