The Ministry of Agriculture has earmarked Shs5 billion to control strange weeds that have invaded the country.
Dr Ambrose Ogona, the director general of the National Agriculture Research Organisation (Naro), said the funds will be spent on conducting a countrywide survey and research programmes on the weeds.
“Uganda has been affected by quite a number of foreign weeds. The most recent are the dodder, congress and salvinia molesta weeds that have been identified as a potential threat to the country’s economic development,” Dr Ogona said on Friday.
He was speaking to district leaders and coordinators of Operation Wealth Creation during a review of the National Agriculture Advisory Services activities in Teso Sub-region in Kumi District.
Dr Ogona said the weeds affect grazing fields, water bodies and crops.
“An inch of a dodder weed, now locally known as yellow weed, once dropped at the bark of a tree or on the leaves, can spread rapidly to block direct access to sunlight,” he said. According to Dr Ogona, a dodder is a parasitic weed without seeds that attaches itself on the living trees and plantations, especially cassava and ornamentals, among others.
It was first detected in western Uganda and depends on the sap of trees for survival. Dr Ogona also said government wants to establish circumstances under which these weeds are introduced into the country and find both biological and scientific measures for their control.
The yellow weed has destroyed a number of trees in Asuret, Ocokican and Arapai areas in Soroti District.
Mr Simon Emetu, LC3 chairperson for Arapai, told Daily Monitor that the weed is killing both indigenous and artificial tree cover.
e urged government to speed up its response to control the spread of the weeds.