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Famine threatens drought-devastated parts of Terego district

Maize gardens have dried up in Terego district.

Terego, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Prolonged drought has wreaked havoc on smallholder farmers in Terego district. The most affected are farmers are in Ejoni, Maraju, Otuambari, and Akino parishes in Uriama sub-county. Several crops in Nicu and Ajiraku parishes in Bileafe sub-county have weathered because of too much sunshine being experienced in the area.

In March this year, the farmers planted seasonal crops such as maize, beans, and groundnuts following the onset of rains but to their disappointment, they have not had any rains since May this year. Now, the affected farmers are afraid about their food security in the near future, if the condition persists.

Julius Saka, a farmer in Idrayo village, Ejoni parish, Uriama sub-county says that due to the prolonged dry spell, even the small streams, which farmers have been relying on to feed their animals have dried up.

“It last rained here in May and up to now, we haven’t received rains. The animals have nothing to be feed on. The pastures and water that the animals used to rely on have dried up. Everything has become difficult,” Saka said.

Gilion Enzama, another farmer in Uriama sub-county explains that at his home, they have resorted to one meal a day because of food scarcity. “We don’t have food, all the crops planted dried up, we just eat food in the evening,” Oma noted.

Justo Oma, another farmer says that he had planted okra on a quarter piece of land, which dried up shortly after the seeds started germinating. Vincent Okot, the LC3 chairperson for Uriama sub-county, says that the prolonged dry spell has left several households in despair since they lack food. He further disclosed that the farmers are paying a big price for the environmental degradation that has occurred in the sub-county.

Herbert Jurua, the Terego district production officer says that they are set to embark on sensitizing farmers to embrace climate change mitigation measures.

This is not the first time farmers in West Nile are counting losses due to drought.  In 2003, several crop gardens especially along the River Nile belt withered due to severe drought. The drought affected perennial groups like sim sim, sunflower, ground nuts and cowpeas.



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