Rukungiri District leaders have today launched a campaign aimed at spraying gardens and banana plantations to root out caterpillars that devastated over 700 acres of plantation in the area.
The drive, which began in Rukungiri Municipality on Friday and was joined by area leaders, including the Resident District Commissioner, Martin Mugabe and MP Roland Mugume Kaginda, saw more than five acres of plantations sprayed using various types of pesticides.
Kaginda said the move is aimed at preserving food security in the district after the threat of caterpillars.
“We have a strong challenge that if this continues, we may face hunger and gross food insecurity in the municipality and what comes out of that is general insecurity because people will start stealing, there will be domestic violence and all other crimes related to poverty. We must fight the pests to preserve the rest,” he said.
Mugabe says banana plantations, sweet and Irish potatoes, cassava, yams, trees and general green cover has been affected almost in all parts of the district.
He however, blamed it on increasing wetland degradation that has seen such pests escape from their natural habitat to plantations where they can only get food to sustain them too.
The senior district agriculture officer, Mr Pius Onek Kwesiga, said caterpillars always live in wetlands and have only escaped to plantations. He however says by spraying using pesticides, they will be eliminated while the rest will have become butterflies with the coming rain and will fly away to their habitats.