Tuesday, September 12th, 2023 | By
Precious Naturinda and Edison Ndyasiima
Peter Makubuye, a small holder farmer from Kakoora village in Kibiga sub county Kiboga district has had rough time dealing with unpredictable weather conditions. According to Makubuye, his main source of livelihood is growing maize, beans, coffee and banana plantations.
However, he says the erratic rainfall and extended dry spell has over time left him in losses. He says weather conditions have increasingly become unpredictable as opposed to olden days when they would use indigenous knowledge to predict.
“Whenever I would experience much heat, I would tell that the rains are around the corner and start preparing the gardens but this is no longer the case. These days we are taken by surprise. The rains come and disappear at a time you least expect. I put in a lot of money and get low yields,” said Makubuye.
It is against this background that Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has partnered with Kiboga district local government to ensure that farmers get updated weather forecasts to help farmers plan accordingly.
The Authority started with training at the beginning of this month (September) of district technical officers from climate sensitive sectors – agriculture and water departments- and farmer group leaders on climate resilient measures.
Abubaker Kalema, a Senior Meteorologist at UNMA says the authority will be sharing early warning weather information with the farmers using mainstream media and WhatsApp groups.
He says Kiboga district, whose population predominantly relies on rain-fed agriculture, has been affected by unpredictable weather. He, however, notes that farmers have been lacking timely and accurate weather information. He says weather information sharing is key to build climate resilience at local level.
Makubuye, who was one of the beneficiaries of the training, says there has been a big gap in sharing information directly to farmers who are affected by the weather patterns from the UNMA. He says the partnership will make weather information dissemination to farmers easy.
According to information from Kiboga district agriculture department, the district experiences challenging unpredictable weather conditions of erratic rainfall and extended dry spell during the March-June planting season.
This has resulted into poor crop yields for annual crops such as maize and beans, horticultural crops like tomatoes, cabbages and also inadequate pasture and water production. The district authorities fear that this may lead to low future supply of agricultural commodities, moderate food availability supply and high prices.
Extreme weather conditions are increasingly frequent and severe across African region including Uganda.
According to Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN 2021), Uganda is ranked 10th most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change and the 35th least readying in teams of preparedness for the climate change effects.