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PDM Benefciaries in Agago Count Losses As Stray Animals Destroy Crops :: Uganda Radionetwork

PDM Benefciaries in Agago Count Losses As Stray Animals Destroy Crops

Farmers who have benefitted from the PDM to boost their crop production are complaining of continuous destruction by stray elephants.
23 Feb 2024 10:44
Farmers pose with cassava steps uprooted by elephants

Audio 6

Farmers in Agago district are struggling to repay the Parish Development Model (PDM) funds due to the continuous destruction of crops by wild animals.

According to a March 2023 report by Water for Production Regional Center-North under the Ministry of Water and Environment, 90 percent of the population in the district is engaged in subsistence farming. 

In June 2023, Agago District rolled out the PDM program to 4,296 beneficiaries.

However, farmers who have benefitted from the PDM to boost their crop production are complaining of continuous destruction by stray elephants.

In Lapono sub-county, farmers estimate that an estimated 500 households in the sub-county are affected by the problem animals.

Kasita Oceng, the LCI Chairperson of Karenga Village, noted that the majority of the beneficiaries of PDM are farmers who injected the money into farming, but the crops have all been destroyed.

Oceng predicts that some people could be penalized by the government for failing to refund the PDM funds, yet the crops were destroyed by wild animals that also belong to the government.

//Cue in: “Cam pa lyeci…

Cue out: …gamente aye doki.”//

Oceng expressed disappointment that no one has received compensation for crops destroyed by elephants two years later, even after complainants have been registered.

//Cue in: “Ka in ibedo…

Cue out: …iyo ma rwatte.”//   

Margaret Akot, a farmer in Kaket parish, said the elephants destroyed two acres of her cassava, yet she had spent at least 800,000 Shillings in the planting process and weeding it four times.

//Cue in: “Ikare ma an…

Cue out: …alip mia aboro.”//

Akot appealed to the government to ensure that they find a lasting solution to the marauding animals because it is causing food insecurity and a high dropout rate of learners whose parents rely on farming to pay school fees.

She also appealed to the government to provide seeds to farmers whose crops have been destroyed by wild animals.

//Cue in: “Kombedi cam ma…

Cue out: …acama mo keken.”//

Charles Bodo, a youth leader at Kaket parish, said the elephants are causing food insecurity, family disintegration, and illegal cutting of trees for charcoal business as an alternative.

//Cue in: “Mon tye ka…

Cue out: …gin acama iot.”//

On Wednesday, residents of Kaket Parish in Lapono sub-county expressed their frustrations in meeting at Tee Alwa Village, due to what they termed as laxity by UWA to contain the wild animals.

According to the locals, the animals have destroyed crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes belonging to 541 households in the villages of Keremec, Aywee, Luzira, Alumar, Bar-Abim, Tee-Alwa, Kudong, and Karenga, all in Lapono sub-county.

Joseph Okello, the acting officer in charge of compensation of victims of crop destruction by wild animals, explained that they received the list of complainants from Lapono sub-county last week but their details were scanty.

Okello explained that none of the complainants reported the destruction of their crops to the police, hence, didn’t have a police reference number, as well as the date, crop type, and how many acres were destroyed.

He requested the district Agricultural officer to write a comprehensive report on every farmer before they are forwarded to the verification team in Kampala.

//Cue in: “Yesterday I received…

Cue out: …or property damages.”//

In November 2023, leaders in Agago district gave a two-week ultimatum to Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA to restrain stray elephants and buffalos from escaping from Kidepo Valley National Game Park into farmland. The leaders accused UWA officials of negligence.

The areas that are most affected by the wildlife invasion are the sub-counties at the border with Karamoja such as Lapono, Adilang, Lirakato, and Omiya pachwa sub-counties.

Statistics provided by the Agago district Production office in November 2023 indicate that an estimated 5,000 acres of cassava alone were destroyed by elephants and buffalos from 2022 to 2023.   

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