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Roaming Animals Frustrate Farming of Perennial Crops :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Roaming Animals Frustrate Farming of Perennial Crops

Colonel Charles Bokello Odur acknowledges that only a handful of farmers who have the ability to fence fruit gardens escape the menace of the animals.
10 May 2022 13:12

Audio 5



Roaming animals remain one of the main challenges affecting the flourishing of perennial crops and fruit trees under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in Kitgum district.

 

OWC is a government program aimed at improving the livelihood of the community by offering free agricultural inputs.

Through the initiative, farmers in Kitgum received at least 388,557 citrus trees, and 179,938 mango seedlings between 2015 and 2020. Last year, the district also distributed 4,000 cashew nut seedlings to farmers and 8,000 seedlings were distributed last month. 

 

However, the farmers are complaining of constant disturbance from animals that are left to roam for pasture during dry seasons.  

Benson Mwaka a farmer in Labongo Amida sub-county in Kitgum district, says animal keepers let their animals loose from December till March, on claims that that time, no crops are in the garden to be destroyed by the animals.  

It is a common practice by those who keep domestic animals to release them during the dry season, for them to forage, mostly unattended.  

Mwaka says this practice is however affecting farmers of perennial and fruit crops, an enterprise that is fairly new in the sub-region.  

//Cue in: “During dry season…//

  

Cue out: …the biggest challenge.”//

 

Mwaka says he got seedlings for an acre of cashew nuts in 2021, but half of it dried up because of the prolonged drought, and the half which survived were destroyed by roaming animals.  

He notes that the free-range system of keeping animals has become a norm and anyone who tries to complain is considered anti-social.

 

//Cue in: “There is no…//

Cue out: …of the plantation.”//

Jackson Omona, another farmer in Kitgum district says roaming domestic animals are a problem to the entire Acholi sub-region, and reasons that it will be a deal-breaker of dreams by many farmers of growing perennial crops.  

According to Omona, roaming of animals explains why farm inputs like cassava cuttings are sometimes sourced from other districts because animals destroy them all. 

 

//Cue in: “It is a common…//

Cue out: …egini’o weng.”// 

 

Omona blames the problem on the failure of lower local government leaders to enact and implement by-laws on roaming animals.

 

//Cue in: “Ki bene gin marac…//

Cue out: …poti ma megi.”//

Rtd. Lt. Col. Charles Bokello Odur, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation in the district acknowledges that roaming animals are among the main challenges affecting the growth of the tree plants.  

Colonel Bokello says that the most common complaint they receive during monitoring is about roaming animals.  

He says animal keepers start releasing the animals around October of every year, and since it is mostly dry at that time, the animals turn to feed on the foliage of the perennial crops.  

Bokello acknowledges that only a handful of farmers who have the ability to fence fruit gardens ever escape the menace of the animals.  

//Cue in:  When it comes…//

Cue out: …time of monitoring.”// 

   

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