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Use mobile labs in curbing killer weed’s spread, says DC

Use mobile labs in curbing killer weed’s spread, says DC

THE Arumeru District Commissioner (DC) Richard Ruyango has urged researchers to use mobile laboratories in identifying areas most ravaged by invasive weeds.

Eng Ruyango, who was speaking on Thursday at the start of an annual Parthenium hysterophorus workshop, challenged the researchers to use such a technology in reducing invasive plant spread, while making optimal use of the moving facilities.

“The invasive species are wreaking havoc at an alarming rate, we can put the mobile labs to good use in curbing its spread,” suggested the District Commissioner.

Commonly referred to as Gugu Karoti, Parthenium hysterophorus invasive killer weed was fast becoming unabated in various parts of the country, potentially affecting food security.

Researchers have also expressed their worry that the weed, by reducing the biodiversity of grazing land, will decrease the ability of the land to support livestock and wild animals that depend on native grasses for grazing.

“We need to immediately stop its spread as it continues to leave behind trails of destruction,” opined the District Commissioner.

He equally called on the members of the public to allocate a day, every month in the uprooting of the killer weed.

On his part, the regional chairperson of Parthenium Awareness and Eradication Committee, Ndelekwa Kaaya, noted that members of the public weren’t sensitized enough on the effects of coming into contact with Parthenium hysterophorus.

“We need to come together, join our hands and take lead role in curbing its spread,” he added.

In 1983, the government of India resorted to Zigogramma bicolorata to control the killer weed which had visited the country in the 1960s along with consignments of American grain.

The killer plant is said to have arrived in Ethiopia in the 1980’s, and despite the best efforts of scientists throughout East Africa, it spread to Somalia and Kenya.

It likely arrived in Tanzania around the year 2000, although it was not officially identified until 2010.

Each plant can produce up to 25,000 seeds, which can survive in the soil for at least ten years.

In Ethiopia, the killer plant is referred to a Farmasissa which means “sign your land away”.

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Author: ABDINEGO MARTIN in Arusha

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