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Uganda: FAO warns of severe drought

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Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has warned of severe drought between November to February 2021 that will cause food scarcity in the country following flash floods across the country.

The warning was issued during the handover of 190 motorcycles by FAO to 29 local governments in the cattle corridor, West Nile and Karamoja Sub-region.

FAO country representative, Mr Antonio Querido, said agricultural extension workers in 29 districts would use the motorcycles to reach out to farmers and increase awareness on climate change interventions such as planting trees and water conservation.

“It is our hope that these motorcycles will assist the movement of the personnel of beneficiary government agencies and civil society organisations in providing the much-needed extension and awareness creation services to help farmers adopt climate-smart agricultural practices and build their resilience to climate-related shocks,” he said.

Dr Emmanuel Zziwa, the climate change expert at FAO country office, said in an interview that several districts such as Kabale, Luweero, Amolatar and Katakwi are already experiencing disastrous heat waves affecting agricultural productivity.

“The prediction of the drought that is expected to occur from November to February 2021 was made by Uganda Meteorological Authority,” he said.

“From 1960 to 2010, Uganda experienced an average of one degree centigrade point increase in temperature. In some regions, the temperature has risen to close to two degrees centigrade points,” he said.

Dr Sadat Walusimbi from Makerere University College of Agriculture and environmental sciences said that available evidence shows that each rise in temperature causes an average of 30 per cent reduction in maize production thereby threatening food security.

Mr Freddie Kabango, the assistant Commissioner of Soil and Water Conservation at the Agriculture ministry, shared government’ plans in making effort to increase irrigation.

“There is desire to have a production area under irrigation at 1.5mha by 2040. In order to achieve that, we will need to sustainably utilise our natural resources and to also come up with innovations/technologies, which can help our farming communities cope with climate change challenges while meeting their ever-changing needs,” he said adding that,

“Agriculture in Uganda is majorly rain-fed and therefore prone to climate change. Climate change has impacted heavily on the prevalence of rainfall, quantity and distribution and has come with associated hazards notably pests and diseases, severe land degradation, extreme temperatures, loss of lives and habitats, among others.”

Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News

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