Prepare for famine, government tells Ugandans

By The Daily Monitor, TUESDAY APRIL 9 2019 
Drought. Pastoralists stranded with their
Drought. Pastoralists stranded with their cattle at one of the valley dams that dried up due to the long dry spell in Obwobwo Parish, Katakwi District, last month. PHOTO SIMON PETER EMWAMU 
By PAUL TAJUBA

KAMPALA. The government has warned of impending famine in most parts of the country, cautioning traders to limit food exports and families to start food rationing.

Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, the State minister for Agriculture, issued the warning in an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday.
He attributed the looming famine to the delayed rain and drought that has stretched beyond March into April resulting in crop failure.
“We are certainly not going to have enough food. Our appeal to farmers is not to take everything to the market,” Mr Kibanzanga said.

“Traders should take [sell] food to areas like eastern Uganda, northern Uganda and Karamoja sub-region which do not have food,” he added.
Mr Kibanzanga said government will support mini and large scale irrigation schemes across the country to minimise over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture as it is done currently.
At the beginning of March, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), the government agency for weather forecast, predicted that most parts of the country would receive plenty of rainfall. They said farmers were free to start planting their crops.

The forecast followed some occasional showers that enticed farmers to start planting crops, but the skies soon dried up and crops wilted under the scorching sunshine.
Mr Festus Luboyera, the UNMA executive director, later issued a statement attributing the current dry spell conditions to the tropical cyclone which last month ravaged Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar and left an estimated 1,000 people dead.

“The cyclone led to the development of low pressure system around the Mozambique channel which resulted in the weakening of southeasterly trade winds. These winds became diverted towards the channel, depriving moisture laden winds to reach our country which is why we have experienced the dry spells,” Mr Luboyera said in a statement.
Ms Agnes Kirabo, the executive director of Food Rights Alliance, a civil society organisation, said government should be blamed for failing to store produce of the previous season.
“There was a dramatic bumper harvest but most of the grain, which would have been used in this bad season was wasted,” she said.

ptajuba@ug.nationmedia.com

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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