Breaking

Prolonged Dry Spell Sparks Panic for Farmers in Kitgum, Lamwo Districts

George Canopowonya, a farmer in Matidi Sub County in Kitgum district says the dry spell that commenced in mid-May has affected both cash and food crops that have reportedly failed to sprout and are withering at their critical production stage.

Audio 4

Farmers in Kitgum and Lamwo districts have expressed worry over a current prolonged dry spell that has hit most parts, raising fears that both districts may experience reduced crop production this year.

George Canopowonya, a farmer in Matidi Sub County in Kitgum district says the dry spell that commenced in mid-May has affected both cash and food crops that have reportedly failed to sprout and are withering at their critical production stage. Acres of Maize, groundnuts, beans, sorghum, potato tubers and millet are all drying up, yet farmers can only watch on, with no options to bring them to life.

//Cue in; “kot ogako dong…

Cue out….ki gin acama.”//

Rozalba Okot Atim, a simsim farmer in Lomodo East village, Lokung Sub County in Lamwo district says that around this time, they would be preparing their gardens for the second season of simsim planting. however, they cannot do that now, in the absence of rain. Atim says that even if the rains were to descend soon, most crops were already written off and she anticipates that this dry spell might result in a shortage of harvests and famine.

//Cue in; “ka calo lok…

Cue out…..wan wakwo.”//

Richard Luteng, a livestock farmer in Orom Sub County, Kitgum district says they have equally been affected by the situation which also heightened water scarcity for animals in the area. He fears that the recently imposed COVID-19 lockdown which banned district to district movement will be catastrophic if government and development partners do not develop contingency plans to deal with a possible shortage of crop yields.

"People will have no food and we ask the government to start planning for relief distribution to avert any impending impacts of the outcome of the dry spell", says Luteng.

Richard Cyrus Komakech, the Lamwo district Production officer acknowledges that the situation has been reported in the entire district although the actual number of acres of crop gardens that have irreparably been damaged by the prolonged dry spell has not yet been ascertained.

//Cue in: “it is actually…

Cue out...with them.”//

Efforts to get a comment from the Kitgum district Agricultural Officer were futile but a source that preferred anonymity contends that the situation has been reported in all sub-counties in the district, with the most hardly hit being Orom, Namukora, Labongo Akwang, Labongo Amida, Labongo Layamo and Lagoro.

Samuel Okwacu, a meteorologist at the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) says what is currently being experienced is a relaxation of the rains but he is optimistic that the rains will come soon, possibly in mid-June through July and August.

//Cue in; “in this area...

Cue out…the community.”//

According to the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, the seasonal rainfall outlook for March, April and May was highly concentrated in all regions of the country but the situation may proceed with more rains expected in June, July and August season especially in the North and North-Eastern Uganda.