In some areas most families depend on one meal since they cannot afford the cost of food
Famine is looming in Kasese district after suffering losses as a result of the prolonged drought which has hit the area.Farmers mainly in the areas of Karusandara, Lake Katwe and Kitswamba Sub Counties have lost several acres of vegetables which they had planted anticipating heavy rainfall but it has not rained in the district since June.
In Karusandara sub County the LC III chairman Ezra Turyahabwe says that due to the prolonged dry spell even the small streams which people have been relaying on for small scale irrigation have dried up."All the crops have weathered because of too much sunshine, even the small streams which we have been depending on for irrigation have dried up and farmers have no option," Turyahabwa says.
In some areas most families depend on one meal since they cannot afford the cost of food.While others have given up on some types of food since they cannot afford the price.
Joseph Muhumuza a resident of Kyalanga in Karusandara Sub County says that at his home they have resorted to one meal a day because of food scarcity."We don't have food, all the crops which we had planted never germinated and for those which germinated have also dried, the cost of living is very expensive and the price of food is also very expensive.
The cost of a bunch of matooke at Mawa market in Kasese town has in the past three month tripled from 10,000 to 30,000 while the cost of a kilogram of maize flour has also increased from 1600 to 3000 shillings.
Jackson Mbusa a farmer in Rugendabara parish, Kitswamba sub county says that he has lost over 10 million shillings which he had invested in planting maize
"I planted early last month expecting rain but it has since not rained and all my money has been put to waste," says Mbusa.
Biira Scolah, a farmer says that during the dry spell and unpredictable rains, she has lost her harvests and left her without income to sustain her family.
"I depend on agriculture for income which sustains my family now that it has not been raining am wondering my next move all the crops which I had planted have dried up," says Biira.
During a tour by the district officials to the affected areas recently, the Resident District Commissioner for Kasese Maj. James Mwesigye said that most farmers are still ignorant about climate change which has led to the loss of crops due to the long dry spell.
"Despite climate change mitigation measures being in place, most farmers are still ignorant and this has led to farmers losing their crops due to the dry spell and heavy rains, which has reduced agricultural productivity," said Mwesigye.
Last year, the district introduced mitigation measures to combat the effects of climate change. Some of the measures include use of simple irrigation practices, practicing agro forestry and construction of food granaries.
Mubuku irrigation scheme is being used for pilot studies for climate change mitigation measures were the government is promoting the growing of drought resistant maize and rice.
The government in collaboration with Save the Children Uganda is constructing a mini irrigation scheme in the Sub County of Karusandara so that people can use the available water to irrigate their crops and improve production.
Vian Musika, the project manager for climate change at Save the Children says that they are working with the district local government and the local communities in the construction of an irrigation scheme.
"We have provided them with the materials and district local government provides them with technical staff, the local people do the work," Musika says.The Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Water and Environment estimates that on average, 800,000 hectares of crops are destroyed annually by droughts, making the country not only food insecure but also short of Shs 120bn in revenue .