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Herdsmen Upbeat as Rains Start in Hoima District

While droughts are uncommon in Hoima, the length and severity of the dry conditions since September last year have strained cattle farmers. They endured dry conditions for more than five months, hand feeding their animals and forced to sell down stock as they run out of pasture and water during the prolonged dry spell.
Cows looking for pasture in Buseruka.

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The first rains of the season seen across drought-hit parts of Hoima district have brought a sigh of relief to pastoralists and farmers in the area.    

While droughts are uncommon in Hoima, the length and severity of the dry conditions since September last year have strained cattle farmers. They endured dry conditions for more than five months, hand feeding their animals and forced to sell down stock as they run out of pasture and water during the prolonged dry spell.      

More than 200 cows are reported to have died as a result of the harsh weather conditions.  The most affected cattle farmers are from the areas of Kabale, Nyamasoga, Kayera, Kiryamboga, Kabanda, Mbegu, Kapapi, Kasenyi lyato, Kaiso, Tonya and lenju, in the sub-counties of Buseruka, Kigorobya, Buhanika, Kyabigambire and Kitoba.      

The dry spell forced cattle farmers to drive their animals to Lake Albert and River Wambabya after all water dams run dry. However, many of the animals collapsed and died along the way due to the long distance.       

Last week saw the first drop of rain the district, bringing a sigh of relief to the herdsmen, whose hope was increasingly fading.      

Sam Ntambara, a herdsman in Nyamasoga in Buseruka Sub County who lost 20 cows due to the prolonged drought says with the return of the rain, he is assured that pasture and water will be available for his animals.    

Runyoro//Cue in; “Enjura eka kereraho…                            

Cue out…nkoku tubaire tuli.:”//.       

Fred Tumwine, a farmer in Buseruka says the return of the rains brings hope that the water dams that had dried up will soon be filled with water. He, however, tasked the government to construct more dams given the increasing number of cows in the district.         

Runyoro //Cue in; “Nyo nko mulisa…

Cue out…etuyambe etukolere amaizi."//      

Samuel Turyahikaho another cattle farmer in Kabale attributes the long drought to high levels of deforestation by most communities in the district saying the return of the first rains will greatly improve the living condition of their livestock.      

Runyankole // Cue in; “Nimbura Amagara… 

Cue out:…munonga ne fa.”//                                 

James Egiro, a herdsman in Kayera village says his life was in danger because the animals were his only source of income, and any danger to them also threatened his livelihood.    

Kinyarwanda//Cue in; “nvura tugize ka…

Cue out…zikamera ne ze.”//                                            

There are more than 300,000 head of cattle in Hoima district. But annually over 1,000 die due to lack of water and pasture resulting from the long drought according to the statistics from the district veterinary office.  

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