Thyolo to Enforce By-laws on Affected Banana

We will use chiefs - Ovila We will use chiefs - Ovila -pic by Luka Beston

In a desperate attempt to revamping banana industry, authorities in Thyolo have resorted to formulating the by-laws to punish some farmers who are resistant to uproot the plantains attacked by banana bunchy-top virus.

The council's vice Chairperson Hudson Ovila, says some farmers especially in Khonjeni Extension Planning Area are still keeping the old plantains defeating the whole purpose of reclaiming the banana pride in the district.

However, Thyolo District council's vice Chairperson Hudson Ovila, said it is sad that some farmers especially in Khonjeni Extension Planning Area are still keeping the old plantains forcing authorities to formulate by-laws to deal with them through fines.

"We have engaged chiefs so that at least they should have the by-laws in their communities. So those don't want to abide by and plant the new varieties of banana they will face fines," he said.

Banana farmers Annie Bretson and Flora Steven, from the area of Sub-Traditional Authority Mulenga, attested that they are now yielding benefits from the new clean plantains after uprooting the banana bunchy-top affected plantains.

Ministry of Agriculture deputy director of crop development for horticulture Eviness Nyalugwe, said there is hope for revamping the farming in the country.

"We are able to see that the farmers in the country are eager to plant more bananas and we are hoping that after three years, we will be able bring back the banana industry as it used to be ten years ago whereby a lot of trucks were loaded with these fruits from different areas especially from Mulanje and Thyolo to the cities," she said.

Henry Msatilomo, National coordinator for Agriculture Sector Wide Approach Programme (ASWAP II), explained that," the damage was too huge, but currently over 2000 hectares of 3,050 have been restored since 2018".

According to Thyolo District Chief agricultural officer Mirriam Ndlovu, around 250 hectares of 300 have already been restored with clean suckers in the district.

All this came out on Friday during the banana upscaling exercise.

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