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Farmers in Elgon Region Count Losses as Dry Spell Takes Toll

Reverend Father Daniel Ochom, the Farm Director Mbale College, says he has virtually lost most of the crops on the more than 85 acre of piece of land of the school farm. 80 percent of the crops on the school farm located in Gangama in Northern Division of Mbale municipality have withered.
Ochom inspects part of the gardens of his miserable maize crop

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Farmers in Elgon sub region are counting losses following the long dry spell that has taken a toll on their crop gardens. A number of farmers interviewed by URN believe they have lost it all this season because of the inconsistent and intermittent rains that have affected their crops.

Reverend Father Daniel Ochom, the Farm Director Mbale College, says he has virtually lost most of the crops on the more than 85 acre of piece of land of the school farm. 80 percent of the crops on the school farm located in Gangama in Northern Division of Mbale municipality have withered.

//Cue in: ''I planted…

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He now plans to cut down the crops and use them to feed the animals in the school farm as he waits for the second planting season.

//Cue in: ''Last year was…

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Ochom blames the poor weather pattern on human activities and appeals to government to emphasize research into drought resistant crops and mechanised agriculture such as irrigation in order to boost production.

//Cue in: ''There is need…

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Ochom's situation is just a representation of other farmers in the region who are also crying foul. Stephen Bwanika, a resident of Bulambuli is also paints a gloomy picture. Bwanika planted 162 hectares of maize in Bunambutye in Bulambuli but most of the crops have withered while others are stunted. 

He says he has no hope of good yields even on some of the crops that have produced cobs. In the neighboring Budaka district farmers are equally pessimistic about their yield. Mudangah Kolyanga, a resident of Kamonkoli in Budaka says most substances farmers like him and others in the area may not be able to feed their families if the poor rain pattern continues.

Kolyanga says almost all stable crops like maize and beans have withered, adding that they have lost hope of harvesting anything.

//Cue in: ''Currently the sunshine…

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Peter Ayo, the Mbale District Agricultural Officer acknowledges the problem. Ayo says the inconsistent rain pattern has affected the entire region and expects real famine.

Ayo appeals to farmers to make good use of the second rains, which are expected in August. The region has remained dry for the past three weeks.

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