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Water Scarcity Hits Rice Farmers In Kabarole :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Water Scarcity Hits Rice Farmers In Kabarole

Rice farmers in Rwimi Sub County in Kabalore district have been hit hard by water scarcity as a result of the prolonged dry season.

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Rice farmers in Rwimi Sub County in Kabalore district have been hit hard by water scarcity as a result of the prolonged dry season. The affected areas include Kakonga, Kaina and Kadindimu parishes. Farmers in Rwimi rely on rain water for the production of their rice. Some of the alternative water sources are far away from the rice fields, which has not forced some of the farmers to resort to growing rice in swamps.

As a result, of the prolonged drought some of the farmers have decided to reduce on their rice production, while others have abandoned rice growing in favor of other crops. Florence Muhenda, a rice farmer in Kakonga parish says that she is finding it difficult to find sufficient water for her three acres rice garden. Muhenda says that for three acres, she requires more than 300 liters of water a week. Muhenda says that she has been forced to grow rice on only one acre.

She however says that she still spends 200,000 shillings a week to purchase water which she fills in a water tank. According to Muhenda, people have taken advantage of the scarcity of water to charge rice farmers 500shs, a jerry can of water. She also says that farmers wouldn’t face difficulties to access water, if the district local government had constructed gravity water flow schemes.

  

//Cue in: “we need gravity water…”

Cue out: “…it can help even during drought.”//

Moses Byarugaba, a rice farmer says that he abandoned his rice field and is now growing rice in swampy areas.  He says that several farmers scramble for the available space in the swamps leading to clashes with environment enforcement officers. Byarugaba also says that with limited water for rice production, he only gets 200 kilograms of rice from one acre, which is low. 

He says if there was sufficient water he would be getting 500kgs. Byarugaba says that on his two acres of rice fields, he uses 400 liters of water a week, which costs him 200,000 shillings. He says that although the sub county is blessed with two small rivers, Nsongya, Ntabango and several crater lakes, the farmers lack machinery like pipes to draw water from the river. Byarugaba says that they have requested the district to provide farmers with the equipments, but the response from the district has been lukewarm.  

//Cue: “the water sources are many…”

Cue out: “…prepare for any eventuality.”//

Moses Kijumba, Chairman Rwimi Rice Farmers Association says that the association has raised 1 million shillings to purchase a wonder water pump which will be rented out to farmers to irrigate their rice fields. He however says that a single pump is not enough for more than 1,000 rice farmers.  Amos Mugume, Kabarole district production coordinator says that the district lacks the funds to purchase machines to draw water from water sources.

He says that the farmers should instead resort to rain water harvesting and also plant crops that don’t require too much water.  According to the 2009, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) report, produced by the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development, the major challenges for sustainable food production in LDCs is shortage of water which has affected both human beings and livestock.

 

 

    

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