A crop disease poses threat to Aweil Irrigation Scheme
The Northern Bahr el Ghazal State raised concerns over a new outbreak of diseases in the Aweil Rice Scheme.
“It is affecting the stems which led to a change in the colour of the plant. It has spread throughout the cultivated area. “This disease might be caused by high humidity or climate change,” said Anei Deng, the state minister of agriculture.
Deng expressed worries that the disease could damage the scheme and lead to a production deficit of 30 per cent.
The State Minister of Agriculture, Anei Deng, said they bought improved seeds from Bangladesh and Uganda, and the ministry planted an area of five million acres.
He said the crop covers 50 per cent of the total area of the scheme, which is 11 million acres.
According to the minister, the diseases affecting the Aweil Rice Scheme include gallmidge, which he said is mainly caused by excessive rain and flooding.
“We have taken the samples to the central laboratory of the FAO to study it and find out the main causes and the type of the disease,” he added.
Deng said the ministry did not have pesticides except urea, and PSP fertilisers, which are used for the prevention of snakes, mosquitoes and house insects.
“The control of the new disease is carried out through aerial spraying using insecticides.”
“They are expensive and are not found in the state, but they are in Juba. So we are appealing to the national government to provide a helping hand when it comes to combating diseases, “he said.
He said the rice scheme is now in the vegetative stage and the crops will be ripening to produce seeds by the middle of this month.
“The grains and crops that were brought from Uganda, although of poor quality, are of short maturity, and approximately between October and November, the scheme will be harvested.”
“The ministry will plant a large area of the rice scheme next year to provide food production for the country and the world. We are now in the stage of the development project. If there is an entity that wants to provide The aid should help us by providing large agricultural machineries such as tractors, large harvesting machinery, and spray planes,” Deng said.
He appealed to the government to rely on agriculture as a backbone for the advancement of economic development in the country.