RUSIZI — The Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST) has committed itself to fight the larva stage of certain kind of insect that cause damage to plants in Rusizi district especially in Nkombo sector.
The institute’s move follows an outcry by farmers on Nkombo Island complaining of a swarm of insects that destroy their crops. The residents were afraid the pests would affect their harvests and cause food shortages.
Early this year a team of the IRST researchers from their head offices in Huye district, Southern Province visited Nkombo to verify the presence of the vermin. They picked some of them for research on their life cycle and how they spread in the area. The research will help the researchers on how to control them.
On Thursday this week another delegation of researchers from the institute led by the IRST Director General, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Nduwayezu again visited the area during which they addressed farmers and all residents about the findings of their research. In his address, Nduwayezu advised residents on various ways of fighting larva and other pests.
“We know that larva insects always disturb farmers by destroying their various agricultural products in this district (Rusizi) especially in this Nkombo sector as they reported to us,” he said.
He added, “We as scientists and researchers from IRST would employ all possible means to fight against the insects in the area either by use of insecticides or using other scientific methods. And we are optimistic that this problem would be contained very soon because we are experienced in fighting against many pests and diseases that attack all crops.”
Farmers said that the insects always attack their crops especially banana plants, cassava, soya-beans, maize, and beans among other crops. They noted the insects attack the gardens mostly during dry seasons compared to rainy seasons.
Dr. Nduwayezu asked farmers to always follow the guidelines of their agronomists while carrying out their farming activities. He also urged them to use green manures in their gardens, saying green manure crops repel larva and other pests.
The insects mostly attack crops in Nkombo sector than other parts of the district because the area is infertile and lacks organic matter. He urged farmers to construct terraces on their hilly gardens.
On the general intervention by IRST in matters of agricultural development, Dr. Nduwayezu noted they have already opened seven braches countrywide to address farmer’s problems. He urged farmers to always report any problem to them in time in order to be solved.
Jean-Pierre Turatsinze, the District Mayor, applauded IRST for their efforts in fighting against the pests in his district and urged continued cooperation with them in agriculture and other developmental issues.
He also encouraged residents to always reside in community settlements and to always participate in all government programs.