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Improved farming methods paying off in Manafwa

By Paul Watala

Added 10th March 2019 07:30 PM

The practices include among others crossword contour ploughing, terraces on hilly areas and constructing proper drainage systems.

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Some of the Manafwa residents who survived the landslides. File Photo.

The practices include among others crossword contour ploughing, terraces on hilly areas and constructing proper drainage systems.

MODERN FARMING

MANAFWA - Residents in the Elgon District of Manafwa have embarked on improved farming practices in a bid to overcome soil erosion and the rampant landslides that have occasionally hit the district leaving hundreds of acres of gardens swept.

The practices include among others crossword contour ploughing, terraces on hilly areas and constructing proper drainage systems.

The improved farming practices according to the residents have reduced the amount of soil lost through fast and heavy running water.

Manafwa district is one of the districts in the Mount Elgon region which is affected by mudslides and soil erosion. This is due to man activities that degrade the environment making it susceptible to the free movement of the soil.

Chunks of grounds have been left bare with little or no green vegetation especially on the steep areas of the Bunana Hills, Namisindwa hill whose top soil has been washed away by the running water due to degradation by communities.

This makes the soils easily washed by water during the heavy rainy season and this weakens the grounds which forces the soil to move in form of landslides.

Moses Wanda, the chairperson Manafwa Water shed project implemented under the third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund says that the area is sloppy and is easily affected by the running water.

"If it rains, our soils are washed away because of the steep terrain of the area" Wanda explained.

He said that the residents embarked on tree planting to save their soils which has enabled them yield more from their gardens.

"We would rarely get a bunch of Matooke that we sell at even sh10,000 but we are able to get one that goes for sh20,000". He added.

Wakalange Sulai a community facilitator in the same watershed says that running water washes away the top soils which affects productivity of the area, yet many of the populace is made up of small scale farmers.

According to him, the good farming practices have helped them conserve water and soil and also reduce the effects of soil erosion.

Namisi Martin, a resident of Bubuyela village in Buyinza Town council says that during the rainy season, soil and rocks are rolled off the hills and block the roads making movement difficult.

He says that they adopted a method of making terraces using the rocks to reduce the speed and force of water and this has helped to reduce movement of the soils.

Masete Edward another resident says that they are planting trees and using contours and terraces as a way of restoring the Bunana hill which was degraded by the residents themselves.

“That hill was full of trees and green vegetation but due to the activities of people here, we degraded the hill and that is why we are suffering with landslides and soil erosion.” Masete Echoed.

Nafula Jospher, the secretary Namikhoma Watershed told a team from government and World Bank who were on the review mission of the implementation of the NUSAF3 program that the locals have been trained on soil conservation and environmental management.

She said the use of farming practices like contour farming, forming soil bunds, stone embankment and planting trees and grass along river banks and on mountains has enabled them to realize some good yields but also mitigate the movement of the soils.

The Manafwa district Local government with support of the third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund introduced the new farming technologies to enable residents people to get alternative sources of fuel.

Sarah Bisikwa the Manafwa District Natural resources officer and NUSAF3 in-charge explains that under the Labour intensive Public works of the program, they are doing restoration activities like soil and water conservation and tree planting in a bid to reduce the soil erosion that the region is facing.

She said that the Labor Intensive works are being implemented along with the livelihood components.

 

She added that the program has also increased people’s will towards environmental protection and that currently the formally degraded hills are now becoming green.

 

Bugisu sub-region is prone to landslides due to massive degradation of the environment, especially through tree cutting.

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