Farmers in Uganda have called on the government to put in place measures to help them manage the impending food shortage.
Severe drought that has led to major crop failures, lack of pasture and receding water levels in lakes and rivers has been reported in several parts of East Africa over the past few months. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement that the drought in the Horn of Africa had been exacerbated by the failure of the October to December rains.
“The magnitude of the situation calls for scaled-up action and co-ordination at national and regional levels,” said Maria Helena Semedo, the deputy director general in charge of climate and natural resources at FAO.
Countries that have been affected, according to FAO are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
“These are unfavourable weather condition for farmers. The first and second rainy seasons in 2016 performed poorly. This was particularly in the East, North and West Nile regions,” said Charles Ogang, president of the Uganda National Farmers Federation.
Mr Ogang noted that harvests in parts of the country where the dry weather conditions set in earlier than usual reported a 20 per cent drop in harvests.
Vincent Ntege, a farmer and member of the farmers federation, said the scorching sunshine over the past few months has effected crops such as sorghum, maize and upland rice.
Besides crops, Mr Ntege said livestock have also been affected by the harsh weather conditions, forcing people to share water sources with livestock.
“We are to calling upon the government to put in place the necessary measures to help farmers manage the challenges of climate change, which appear to be increasing,” he added.
Last week, the government said that some nine million Ugandans were in need of urgent food as a result of the long drought over the past three months.
Paul Isabirye, the director in charge of networks and observations at the Uganda National Meteorological Authority said dry spell is expected to continue in most parts of the country over the next one month.