A vast majority of farmers in Sembabule and other districts in the cattle corridor rely on natural pastures and sometimes include native elephant grasses to feed their animals. But many of them are scrambling for limited and already dried-up natural pastures and water sources, according to Karakure.
The government has been asked to promote the growth of substitute
pasture species to enable livestock farmers to overcome the effects of prolonged droughts in Sembabule District.
Rugushulu Sub-County Chairperson Fred Karakure says that the Ministry of
Agriculture needs to roll out deliberate interventions that can provide sustainable responses to the recurrent dry spells that gravely affect livestock farmers.
A vast majority of farmers in Sembabule and other
districts in the cattle corridor rely on natural pastures and
sometimes include native elephant grasses to feed their animals. But many of them are scrambling for limited
and already dried-up natural pastures and water sources, according to Karakure.
He explains that as a result the
weaker and young animals that cannot jostle for their survival end up
dying due to malnourishment and other opportunistic diseases. He says that livestock farmers in his sub-county have lost close to 100 head of cattle and goats after failing to feed their animals.
However, Karakure says that the situation which is
characterized by long dry spells and scorching sunshine on the grasslands,
demands that farmers adopt options that can help them overcome the
adverse effects of climate change. He demands that the government supports farmers with
seeds, vines, and plantlets of artificial crops that can substitute natural
Cue out….emmeere y’ente.”//
Besides the death of livestock, Karakure says that the
prolonged dry spell has affected the district’s production capacity in terms of milk and other dairy products. He argues that many farmers hardly raise a quarter of their usual
milk production despite the available market for the produce.
Sembabule District Production
Officer Doctor Emmanuel Kawooya confirms that the district has generally registered grave consequences
from the rare drought that has hit them.
He says that they advise farmers to reduce the size of
their livestock in such challenging situations, such that they can remain with
numbers they can optimally manage.
In 2005, the Ministry of
Agiculture developed a National Animal Feeds
Policy, which established advisory and technical committees that are charged
with harnessing the country’s livestock production through various interventions.
For instance, the policy calls for adoption on a
national scale, proper livestock management systems on natural pastures and
forages, coupled with supplementary feeding using agro-industrial by-products
that be availed by the developed animal feed industry. However, the policy is yet to be fully
implemented hence its benefits largely remain unreleased