Oyam cotton farmers expecting huge losses as ‘bollworm’ strikes  


A farmer inspects his cotton garden. Photo by Ojara Daniel

By Ojara Daniel

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Oyam—1, December 2020: Cotton is one of the many traditional cash crops grown in Uganda. However, following price fluctuation in recent years, its production declined massively across the country.

In Lango sub-region, it was (is) a predominant cash crop, with maize, simsim, coffee and tobacco, among others widely grown.

Besides scarce markets, lack of much morale to promote it, some farmers in Oyam district are still in love with cotton, and from garden preparation, they were expecting high yield and good money accruing from sales.

Now, they (farmers) are unhappy, following the outbreak of bollworm that are constantly destroying their cotton in the garden amidst approaching season to harvest it.

Mr Charles Ojok, a farmer from Abok sub-county Oyam North (district) said his cotton plants are not growing the way he was expecting.

This is because the cotton boll are constantly destroyed by the worm.

Mr Peter Obong, another farmer from Ngai sub-county in Acut parish, said his cotton plants are drying because the roots are affected by bollworm.

According to Obong, at first, his cotton failed to grow after planting, which forced him to replant it.

“The seeds we were given to plant this year need proper spraying, constantly,” he told TND News.

Beatrice Aciro, a widow from Aramita parish Ngai sub-country, said her cotton is ever growing without yielding fruits and not getting matured either.

Ms Aciro said she failed to get a pesticide to spray her cotton garden. She said, without naming anybody, “we were told to wait and receive free of charge but we waited in vain.”

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Mr Anthony Okot who’s a lead coordinator said this year cotton farmers “must expect more money” because the “price of cotton per kilogram will favour farmers”.

But he urged them to continue spraying their cotton till the end of harvesting to combat worm.

In September 2008, Dr Ben Ssekamatte experimented “Cotton Pest Trap” he had invented. The Cotton Pest Trap is the anti-bollworm trap.

While testing his innovation in Loro and Patongo same year, he said 6—10 adult bollworm are caught in the sticky molasses mixed with water in a yellow container.

However, his invention seems to have become “ineffective” as Oyam farmers revealed they have never used it. Some say they have not seen it physically.


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