Farmers Count Losses Due to Wrong Weather Prediction

2104 Views Iganga, Uganda

In short
The temperatures have been averaging between 26C and 28C according to Entebbe meteorological centre.

Several farmers in Busoga region are counting losses due to crop failure as a result of poor weather prediction. The farmers planted crops hoping to tap into the heavy rains that were expected to start in August.
In July 2015, Musa Ecweru, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees warned Ugandans to prepare for the diverse effects of heavy rains that were expected to start in August. He urged farmers to take advantage of the rain waters for their animals and crop gardens.

As a result, several farmers in Busoga region started clearing their gardens in August and planted crops such as maize, beans and groundnut in September. However, the rains didn't fall as expected. The temperatures have been averaging between 26ËšC and 28ËšC according to Entebbe meteorological centre.

Fred Kagino, the Iganga District Production Office estimates up to 60% losses of at least 6,000 acres of maize and beans planted recently. Daniel Bazigu, a farmer from Nambaale village in Iganga district planted two acres of maize and beans but doesn't expect good returns.

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He wants government to put in place an efficient information system to disseminate reliable weather reports to farmers to enable them plan their farming activities properly. The poor weather has mostly affected small scale farmers since they can't afford to irrigate their gardens.

Joseph Mulopi, a farmer in Baitambogwe Sub County in Mayuge district says they were excited when they received some rain in late August, 2015 only for drought to set in. Mulopi is afraid that the delayed onset of the rain season might cause famine because crop failure.
Sarah Mutesi, another farmer from Budondo village in Jinja District says she has been a victim of a false onset of the rain season.

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Her entire three acre garden of beans did not sprout to maturity. Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, the Jinja District Production Officer admits the poor system of providing weather forecast reports to farmers.

According to Kiwemba, there is need to strengthen the system of disseminating weather information from the national meteorology department in Entebbe to farmers.

The weather substation in Kimaka in Jinja is only used to collect and relay data to the weather department in Entebbe but does not provide feedback to farmers.