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Lamwo Sugarcane Outgrowers Create Buffer Zones to Avert Wild Bushfires

The Chairperson of Ayuu Alali Sugarcane Out-growers Cooperative Society Francis Ojwiya says the move will involve clearing approximately 30 feet area between the cane block plantations and the neighboring natural grass or bushes as the dry season sets in.
Officials from the NAADs during the launch of Ayuu Alali Sugarcane project in Lamwo, Photo By Dan M Komakech

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Sugarcane farmers in the Ayuu Alali parish, Palabek Kal Sub County in Lamwo district have started creating buffer zones along sugarcane plantations to reduce possibilities of wildfire damage.  

The Chairperson of Ayuu Alali Sugarcane Out-growers Cooperative Society Francis Ojwiya says the move will involve clearing approximately 30 feet area between the cane block plantations and the neighbouring natural grass or bushes as the dry season sets in.   According to Ojwiya, this time around the dry season between November to March, uncontrolled wildfires caused by indiscriminate burning of bushes are predominately prevalent each year in Northern Uganda.   

Several groups that include hunters who while in pursuit of edible rats, livestock farmers in dire quest of fresh pasture for their animals and crop farmers who clear farmlands for next planting season have always been faulted for igniting bush fires. 

Ojwiya says such uncontrolled fires characterized by dry weather, strong winds that make the fires spread very fast if left unabated could be too disastrous to the 5,000 hectares of cane plantations so far planted in the project.   

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Mohamoud Abdi Mohamed, the Executive Director of Horyal Holdings Ltd, the company managing the cane project in the area says they will also create defensible spaces between the sugarcane blocks to avert fire spreading to other plantations in the event where fire spreads across the buffers. 

According to Mohamoud, the innovations will not only protect the cane from destruction by wildfires but also avert possible horrific loss of life, property, and personal possession of the benefiting farmers.   Mohamoud also says the company will in the meantime also provide some funding to help beneficiary farmers control fires since the current growing sugar cane has been earmarked as cane seed for planting in another 10,000 hectares awaiting planting in April next year.  

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Lamwo Resident District Commissioner James Nabinson Kidega says apart from creating the buffer zones, security will enhance surveillance and also deploy drones to monitor unscrupulous persons and arsonists with intentions of igniting fires on the plantations.  

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Kidega also stressed on the need to sensitize the residents on the dangers of bush burning to the sugarcane project and the fight against environmental destruction.

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