Expect ‘above normal’ rains, farmers told

Eight agricultural zones in Uganda will experience above normal rainfall in the September to December precipitation season, according to the latest seasonal forecast by Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).

The forecast says the onset of the second season has already began in most parts of the country with  those predicted to receive above normal rainfall exceeding the average amount received over the last 30 years. Four of the remaining agricultural zones are expected to receive near normal rainfall, well below the average received over the last 30 years.

Festus Luboyera, the Executive Director of Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) says in the forecast that there is increased likelihood of near normal rainfall in few regions and above normal rainfall in most parts of the country.

Luboyera urges farmers to start early field preparations for early planting. He says they should plant long maturing crops like millet, rice, sorghum, Maize, Cassava and Sweet potatoes at the start of the rainfall season in September.

“Carry out soil and water conservation practices such as digging trenches, and mulching. Farmers should enhance surveillance of the field for pests and diseases while livestock farmers should move their livestock to higher grounds to prevent food rot and pneumonia diseases,” added Luboyera.

In Northern Uganda, a section of farmers are already crying foul over destruction of their crops triggered by prolonged off season rainfall which fused the first and the second season.

Bernard Kinyera, a resident of Lacor in Gulu district says the rains wiped his tomato garden as it began to mature and ripen.

Some of the regions expected to receive above normal rainfall include; the Lake Victoria basin and the Central region (Nakasongola, Luweero, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke, Kiboga, Mubende, Kasanda, Sembabule, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kyotera and Rakai and the Eastern part of Central Uganda (Mukono, Buikwe, Kayunga and Buvuma).

The central and Western Lake Victoria basin (Kalangala, Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka, Mpigi, Butambala, Kalungu, Bukomasimbi, Gomba and Mityana) is also expected to receive above normal rainfall.

In Northern Uganda, three ecological zones North Western, Eastern Northern part and the Central Northern part are expected to experience above normal rainfall.

Districts making up these regions are; Zombo, Nebbi, Pakwach, Okolo, Arua, Koboko, Terego, Maracha, Moyo, Yumbe, Adjumani, Lira, Kitgum, Agago, Otuke, Pader, Kole, Dokolo and Kaberamaido. Others are Gulu, Apac, Kwania, Lamwo, Nwoya, Amuru, Oyam and Kiryandongo.