About 2,000 sunflower farmers in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts are counting losses after a strange disease attacked more than 2,800 acres of the crop.
The disease, yet to be identified, causes the crop to wrinkle immediately after germination before the leaves turn yellow and dry up.
The seeds were supplied to Mukwano Group of Companies by a South African seed firm, Panner.
A South African expert, who declined to disclose her identity, claimed the crops were attacked by a primary infection.
However, during a visit to the affected fields on Tuesday, Mr Blasto Byabakama, the Masindi production officer, said other varieties which have been planted in the same conditions have not been affected, adding that a virus might have been attacked the seeds.
The Masindi Mukwano agro project spokesperson, Mr Ben Mulimba, said the South African experts and Ugandan scientists are working to identify the disease and how it can be controlled.
“We are going to compare notes with both the ministry scientists and technocrats from Panner and come out with the way forward, especially in eradicating this disease,” Mr Mulimba said.
Farmer cries foul
According to one of the affected farmers in Pakanyi Sub-county, Masindi District, Mr Job Kaheru, he invested more than Shs60 million to grow close to 80 acres of sunflower but they have dried up. “We saw the problem coming. It started with yellowing of leaves as the crop was just germinating but as the sun flower was maturing, we saw almost the whole field drying,” Mr Kaheru said.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor