Agricultural experts have urged Ugandans to utilise even small pieces of land to grow bananas.
Dr. Arthur Tugume, a principal investigator at the College of Natural Sciences Makerere University said at least three quarters of the country’s population depend on matooke as their major food.
Dr Tugume said that the productivity of bananas has remained stagnant in the recent years.
Uganda produces 10 million tonnes of bananas per year but experts reckon that the country can produce even more.
“One kilogram of matooke per day is consumed and we don’t produce enough matooke for ourselves because more than 35 million people in Uganda depend on matooke,” Tugume said.
“Let us utilise the land and with the use of technology, improve the crops production potential to about 50%”.
Tugume cautioned farmers to be very careful about adopting banana varieties without doing enough research.
“When you see your fellow farmer has a breed that you want, you need to be very carefully. You the farmer will need to remove the roots and all the soil or soak in diluted jik so that you plant a disease free stem. I have used that myself and it has worked very well”, Tugume said.
In 2001 Uganda was hit by banana bacterial wilt in regions central and western and most farmers were affected.
The agricultural researchers have failed to find a permanent solution to wipe out this destructive disease. The banana bacterial wilt disease has largely contributed to the low productivity which experts argue that if not controlled it could turn into the most powerful threat and wipe out the entire banana plantation.
Over 70% of Ugandan farmers grow the crop on 1.5 million hectares of land for consumption and to generate revenue .The leading banana growing districts in Uganda are Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Kabarole and greater Masaka ..