In districts like Nakasongola, Karamojja and others had no pastures and water for their animals resulting into their death.
By David Serumaga
Last year, many districts in the country experienced a severe drought that affected the lives of the citizen, crops and livestock.
In districts like Nakasongola, Karamojja and others had no pastures and water for their animals resulting into their death. We witnessed animal and crop price depreciation due to excessive high temperature that left all the grassland or pastures and water sources for irrigation, animal and home use dried out.
To some districts in western, East and Central Uganda, the prolonged drought experienced last year resulted into shortage of food for animals and human beings which affected their lives and lowered their income. In a way of securing its people, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Disaster and Preparedness distributed food to the affected families with the support from the United Nations.
Now that God is abundantly giving us rain, farming is taking place and we expect to have food surplus on the market which is of high quality due to enough water in the soils. Animals and crops are looking good because of the water that add value in them which increases the income of the farmer on the local and internal market and demand of our products.
Although farmers are smiling at this time, those who are building, mining in wetlands and forest deforesters are still active in their profession meaning that there is a lot needed to be done to prepare for the next drought when the rains stop.
This is the time the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry has to vigorously wakeup to think about measures that will curb water crisis in future for agricultural use. This can be done when the ministry works hand in hand with our media houses to educate and inform all our citizens about how to harvest water in this rainy season. Since it is the role of media to educate and inform the public which they are doing well, in this period when all parts of the country are experiencing regular downpour media and the agriculture ministry are the only options to use to make sure that even in times of drought, people and animal can remain health.
If our people venture into water harvest, individual or home irrigation projects will erupt meaning that President Museveni of enabling farmers to grow crops for food and the surplus to be sold will come to reality. It will boost the quantity and quality of crops harvested which will increase the demand of our agricultural products on the international market.
Uganda will gain its food basket title when such ideas are put into practices in this rainy season when water is harvested for future use. This means that famine will be no more which means that even diseases that come as a result of no food, lack of food, poor immunity and other related issues diseases will be curbed. The quality and quantity production of animal products will also amplify as government revenue from animal products increases. When the quality and quantity of products is high, Uganda will be able to strongly compete with other countries on the international market of the agricultural produces.
Research conducted by the Buganda Youth Wing members shows that crops or livestock with enough water can even resist, survive, fight diseases or any kind of pastes which attack animals and crops compared to those which are facing excessive heat.
This is the right time for the Ministry of Agriculture with the help of the media or any other farming company to inform and educate the farmers how to harvest water, keep it and use it during drought.
We shouldn’t leave this gift of water from God to waste, teach the public on cheaper means of collecting it because even when water becomes excess into the soil, it becomes useless.
The writer is the president of the Buganda Youth Wing