By Nalwadda Nsangi
Farmers in Koboko and the neighbouring districts have asked the government through Ministry of Agriculture to visit the area and carry out research on an invasive weed locally known as Garamba which is affecting animals and crop production. They say it terminates pregnancies in animals mostly goats.
Koboko and the neighbouring districts like Maracha, Yumbe and some parts of Arua have been hit by the presence of a weed which is said to be affecting animals and crops.
Muki Kizito, the Koboko Municipality agricultural officer, said that they have severally registered concerns from the farmers complaining about this weed locally called Garamba
Farmers say that once this weed is consumed by goats during the gestation period, the pregnancy is instantly terminated.
Muki said, “We discovered this issue when we were doing training with the farmers. This issue came up among the challenges farmers are facing.”
A farmer noted, “In my experience, my goats began to miscarry the kids, when I engaged other farmers, they asked me whether I have this plant around my compound? I did.”
Muki says that this weed smothers pastures thus restricting grazing areas and limits valuable grass growth
He is especially concerned because, “Where it has grown, you cannot plant anything, its all over and the more you uproot it, the more it the more you spread it, we don’t know what can be done.”
Wilson Sanya, the mayor of Koboko municipality, said this weed that has invaded the sub-region is posing serious danger to even human life.
He said, “When it pricks you you feel pain and eventually you get a scar and when it touches the skin, it itches.”
Muki says that for the time being, they are advising farmers to deal with the weed chemically or mechanically as they wait on to the government through Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries to come to their rescue.
This weed gets its name from the Garamba forests located in the Democratic republic of Congo. It is thought that its seeds came with the grain that was distributed as food relief during the insurgencies
The leaders now want all stakeholders like universities, agricultural departments and relevant ministries to interest themselves in researching about this weed.