Johnson Obalim, a farmer in Oroko village, Palaro Sub-county, one of the areas that registered poor harvest due to prolonged dry spell says he isn’t interested in farming this season because of the losses he suffered previously.
Rainfall in Gulu City. Photo Julius Ocungi
A section of farmers in the Acholi Sub-region has opted not
to tilt their gardens this second farming season over the uncertainty of the
The long dry spell experienced in the first farming season left many farming
activities within the region greatly affected with many farmers registering
very poor harvests. Although rainfall returned this second season, with many
farmers hopeful to compensate for their earlier losses, some farmers are
hesitant to return to their gardens fearing a repeat of the harsh weather.
Johnson Obalim, a farmer in Oroko village, Palaro Sub-county, one of the areas
that registered poor harvest due to prolonged dry spell says he is not
interested in farming this season because of the losses he suffered previously.
Obalim says he lost two acres of beans in the first farming season after
injecting shillings 350,000 in plowing, labor and planting materials, and
“What I predict is that the rainfall won’t last, as a farmer I got assurance
from weather experts that it would rain in the first farming season but the
prediction turned out to be the contrary. I am waiting for next year,” Obalim
told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday.
Obalim notes that he has instead invested in livestock and poultry which are
not easily affected by the weather changes.
James Lalobo, another farmer in Agung Village in Anaka Sub-county, Nwoya
District says he is yet undecided on growing crops this season. Lalobo says he
lost crops in the first farming season due to the dry spell. He notes that the
challenge has been compounded by the invasion of stray elephants from Murchison
Falls National Park that have been destroying their crops over the years.
“Up to now, I have opened my farmland, I am really not sure
whether I will grow crops given my experience early this year. It’s not
profitable to grow crops and lose it all because of lack of rain or elephants,”
Lalobo anticipates next year will be a good period for him to grow crops
But Gulu District Production officer Jackson Lakor says the weather forecast
points to a reliable rainfall until November which is good for farming.
He says farmers shouldn’t be discouraged but instead utilize
this season to compensate for their losses in the first farming season.
Some of the farmers however faulted the weather forecast reports issued by
Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) which were unreliable.
George Ocan, a farmer in Rwot Obilo Village in Owor
Sub-county, Gulu District says that he received the three-month weather
forecast from UNMA indicating good rainfall in the months of May, June, and July,
but the prediction was inaccurate. He says the month of June and July was the
driest in the region yet he had planted crops following the forecast.
William George Omony, the Manager of Forecasting services at Uganda National
Meteorological Authority (UNMA) however says most farmers don’t follow their
monthly forecast updates leaving them unable to know changes in
He says whereas UNMA issues a three-month weather forecast, the same authority
also comes out with monthly updates whenever it detects changes in the rainfall
According to Omony, although the months of June and July, with some early days
of August being characterized by no rainfall, rainfall is expected to be
reliable up to the end of August this year.
He says UNMA is working on the weather forecast for
September, October, and November this year but advised farmers to take
advantage of the current rain to plant crops.
“It’s true the month of June and July was one of the worst months in Northern
Uganda characterized by very minimal and largely no rainfall. We are
encouraging farmers however to plant their crops at the moment because we
expect enough rainfall till the end of this month,” says Omony.
According to the Weather forecast issued by UNMA in May, persistent rains are
expected to develop and continue until the end of August with a high likelihood
of near normal (average) rainfall with a high tendency of above normal rainfall
over the region.
Bureau Chief, West Acholi