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Ugandans cautioned over impending famine

by Grace Kisembo

The Ugandan government has warned citizens of the looming famine due to the late rains and drought that has stretched beyond March leading to crop failure.

According to media reports, Christopher Kibanzanga the Minister of Agriculture cautioned traders to limit food exports and asked families to start food rationing.

“We are certainly not going to have enough food. Our appeal to farmers is not to take everything to the market. Traders should sell food to areas like eastern, northern Uganda and Karamoja sub-region which do not have food,” Kibanzanga said.

Kibanzanga further added that 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 start of March, many farmers where given the green light to begin planting crops as predictions by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) weather forecast indicated and occasional showers preceded.
However, the skies cleared and crops wilted due to 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.

Meanwhile, Ms Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance, a civil society organisation added that proper reservation of the previous seasons harvest by government would have been an aid to the current situation.

Kirabo further stated that there was a dramatic bumper harvest but most of the grain, which would have been used in this bad season, was wasted.

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