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Katakwi in Fear of Food Crisis

Moses Okello, a maize farmer in Toroma Sub County told URN on phone that he lost 4 acres of maize to water logging, something that shuttered his dreams of harvesting at least 60 bags of maize. Okello says he only harvested 10 bags yet he spent over Shillings 1.5 million on labor including opening the garden.
Agnes Akiror inspecting food exhibition

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There is a looming food crisis in Katakwi district. An estimated 41, 130 acres of crops valued at Shillings 44.7 billion were destroyed by the recent water logging and floods in the district. Andrew Okalany, resident of Magoro Sub County, says they lost several gardens of sorghum, ground nuts, cassava and maize among other food stuffs.

"We lost too much food crops to water logging. Right now at Ocorimongin cattle market, a basin of cassava has increased from Shillings 6000 a basin to Shillings 9000 and prices of other food stuffs are equally increasing because the harvest was little." Okalany said.

Moses Okello, a maize farmer in Toroma Sub County told URN on phone that he lost 4 acres of maize to water logging, something that shuttered his dreams of harvesting at least 60 bags of maize. Okello says he only harvested 10 bags yet he spent over Shillings 1.5 million on labor including opening the garden.

Jimmy Lorwor, the Katakwi Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), says most of the farmers whose crop gardens were destroyed received inputs under the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and the district. Lorwor says the floods also destroyed animals, washed roads, houses, schools and pit latrines.

He disclosed this during celebrations to commemorate the International Day on Disaster Risk Reduction National Celebrations held at Omasia Primary School in Magoro Sub-County Katakwi District over the weekend. The day was commemorated under the theme "Reducing economic losses of disasters."

Lorwor says the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has responded by delivering food and non-food items like blankets and tarpaulins to the most of the affected households but in small quantities. He said the long term impact of this loss will be realized in the forthcoming season where they expect famine.

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However, Ismael Ocen, the chairperson Disaster Risk Reduction Platform for Teso wants government to activate contingency plans for reducing economic losses and integrate risk management in its development plans.

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The State Minister for Teso Affairs, Agnes Akiror encouraged the people to adapt mechanisms aimed at reducing disaster risks especially combating effects of climate change.

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Teso is one of the regions with high frequency rates of hazards and disaster occurrences in Uganda. In 2007, the region witnessed one of the worst ever recorded floods dubbed the "TesoFloods."

It was so devastating that it severely affected over 20,000 households and displaced 58,000 others. It also cut off 80 percent of community access roads, according to the Uganda Red Cross Society 2007 Assessment Report.

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