Standard Bank - BOL to Wallet

Thyolo Restores 608 ha of Banana

Banana field Banana field - internet pic

Agriculture authorities in Thyolo have admitted that banana revamping drive is facing challenges with only 608 hectares restored over the years of the 3, 738 hectares.

The district's horticulture officer, Patronnelah Mkhala said despite continued efforts to sensitize the farmers, some are still reluctant to uproot all Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTV).

"This mainly is due to reasons including beliefs, fear of losing their only source of money, some say it’s their inheritance from their ancestors, while some just don’t understand the importance of uprooting," she said.

Mkhala has also explained that inadequate funding is affecting the office to carry out restoration activities in the district.

She added: "For a successful banana restoration, there is need to uproot all the old bananas hosting the virus. To do this, there is need of resources to help carry out the activity".

The horticulture has pointed out that currently only 38, 753 households have restored the banana.

She has thus indicated that apart from increased sensitization, they are employing a pass-on strategy until every household accesses the clean suckers.

"The demand however for clean banana is high only that the supply is not enough. As the district, we are trying our best to make sure that the planting materials reach as many farmers as possible by promoting what we call pass on," she added

Meanwhile, the district's Banana Restoration Ambassador, Senior chief Khwethemule has lamented on Thursday that low supply of clean suckers remain a challenge for communities to uproot the affected plants.

Thyolo district used to be a home of banana, but were wiped away by a virus popularly known as ‘Chisaka’ in early 2000s which dwindled the economic status of most farmers who relied on the farming.

The country is now relying on banana from Mozambique and Tanzania.

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