Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Farmers in the Mubuku irrigation scheme in Kasese district are counting losses after a strange pest attacked their tomato gardens.
Farmers say the pest mines new fruits leaving holes.
The larva feeds voraciously on the tomato fruits, plants, producing large galleys in leaves.
They add that the new pest is resistant to all the available pesticides they are using.
Moses Katushabe, one of the affected farmers says the new pest attacks the fruits as they start to ripen with a capacity to destroy hundreds of acres within a very short period of time.
He says the new pest has become resistant to various pesticides adding that buyers are now rejecting their produce due to the poor quality.
Boaz Silver, another farmer says he had invested a lot of money in buying pesticides but none has produced good results yet.
The farmer adds that his business just like many of the other farmers URN spoke to depend largely on loans which they are worried of failing to pay back.
Elizabeth Kukundakwe says she has increased on the spraying routine for her garden but the pest invasion is just increasing.
She appeals to the ministry of agriculture to make studies on variety of pests that are continuously attacking crops in the scheme.
Semida Biira told URN that she has lost over 4 million shillings she acquired through a loan last season after her garden was all ruined by the new pest.
She is now seeking the help of agricultural researchers to identify and find a lasting solution to the infestation.
Muhindo Sanairi, an agriculture extension officer however blames the farmers for not timely monitoring their gardens.
Kasese Senior Agriculture Officer Johnson Sabuni Mwesige says they are reaching out to farmers to assess the kind of pesticides they are using and application.