Climate Change affecting agriculture

By Williams Moi

Heavy rainstorm recently destroyed crops in Oyam district thus affecting entire agricultural sector, with famine among locals highly expected.

Reports show that rainstorm which returned a fortnight ago – and still ongoing, lasted for two weeks is affecting crops. The damaged crops would have been a remedy to the existing famine.

‘’If climate change persists, then there will be no any other remedy for our children,’’ a local says.

Affected areas include Adigo parish, Loro sub- county, Oyam district.

“All the crops in the villages were lost,” according to local council’s general secretary, Benson Acai who witnessed the affected families recently.

Among the crops destroyed were: beans, groundnuts, maize, soybeans, cassava, potatoes, vegetables and bananas.

“The crops affected were planted in the second season and were ready for harvest,” Acai said.

Adding: “But we do not know how God is changing the World today from wet to dry and from dry to wet seasons”.

Area councilor representing Adigo parish in Loro sub county local government, Okunu Patrick, said that the “worst was the rain storm which happened recently”.

“Many acres destroyed, more than 150 households affected. One person almost died because he was badly beaten by the rainstorm in his garden,” He added.

Because of unknown and unreliable climate change, it returned to dry period again, affecting farmers who recently planted their crops.

“It is now two weeks long of sunshine in Oyam district making the farmers worry, the more,” an official said. 

According to Mr. Okot Victor, aged 66 years, a farmer from Apurungo village in the same parish, said, “I believe that there is rain in heaven. It is only God who knows when to send it to us.”

“He knows what to do and when to drop it down,” he said.

“It is going to be a different situation if we are not disaster prepared this year,” he noted.

Taking a look at the rainfall pattern, the this reporter said that heavy rain first returned on February 16, 2018 taking farmers unaware for crop selection.

“This is not the case because Feb-March used to remain dry season every other year,’’ Okot said.

Many farmers had not yet plough their gardens using ox-plough technology since there were no tractors for new technology to boost the farmers.

While others use local hand hoes.

There was rain in Feb – March – April and May partly. 

But unreliably and predictably due to climate change. Many people had planted soy beans but meager harvests registered.

Now that little rain has returned, little harvest is expected eventually as locals appeal to government to send relief aid because there is famine in housholds.

Because of unreliable rainfall, many farmers are confused which crops to plant, although many have planted soy beans (commercial crop) overtaking the food security crop, the yellow beans or jewe type.

According to Ambrose Acilla, a school teacher said effects of climate change are making teaching Science and Geography unreliable because the subjects were related to Climate change in the Syllabus.

One farmer Obboo David said, “it looks as if it is going to rain but it fails even if you see the cloud formation.”

“I do not know God’s plan this year. He makes the wind blows them away,” he added.

Despite the water sources, government has not provided irrigation to farmers as an alternative means to address climate change.

Abila George a renowned farmer said

“it used to rain in August every year but now it is looking to be a dry season vice versa. We fear for famine and all may die due to climate change,” he said.

‘’Both human beings and animals are affected. Even if you pray, it won’t rain again,” Akello Grace, a woman farmer lamented.

Opio Dennis, a farmer said: “We do not have food for feeding our children neither water for animals. By this time every year, the swamps were always filled. We believe heavenly rain hidden somewhere due to climate change.”

Statistic shows that more than 140,000 villages have been affected by climate change with famine a must.

As Uganda fears the advancement of Sahara desert to its territory, Is government ready with an alternative technology for water provision if climate change continues? 

There is no hope this year for the second harvest after the rainstorm. It destroyed the roofs of Aboke High School, Kole district, injuring 12 students, making the authority to send back students before end of the first term. I affected learning.

Molly Aguti said that it is so wonderful that it can rain in your neighbor’s garden and yours remains dry.

It used to fail to rain in a leap year but it is now vice versa. It could rain intermittently.

It is so funny that it could rain spasmodically in a distance of 200 meters away from your dry garden. Wheras your neighbor’s garden is dry, yours is wet at times.

“Ask God why there is no rain,” she said.

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