Flooding of River Manafwa has destroyed many crops in Manafwa District, leaving farmers devastated.
Mr Bosco Natsambwa, a farmer in Manafwa District, left his home on Friday morning to go to his garden only to find his crops washed away after River Manafwa burst its banks.
“This has been my hope because the crops I had earlier planted in the first season were also washed away,” Mr Natsambwa, a resident of Bunawuwenge Village in Wesswa Sub-county, said last week.
Mr Moses Wanda, another farmer, said the yields from his gardens have been declining over the years.
“We used to harvest enough but today, it is a different story. Although we plant much, we harvest little,” he said.
Mr Sulayi Wakalanga, the district environment officer, attributed the low yields to extreme weather conditions which have made it difficult for farmers to harvest better yields.
“When it rains, the farmers experience extreme floods and when it does not, there are extended periods of drought. This is not favourable for crop production,” Mr Wakalanga said.
He added that there is fear of famine due to climate change effects.
“This is because of low crop yields each passing year unless all catchment areas are preserved,” he said.
Mr Samuel Mafabi, the speaker of Sironko District, appealed to government to address the economic, social and environmental effects of climate change.
“Unstable weather conditions have affected agricultural production and increased levels of food insecurity, this needs to be addressed,” Mr Mafabi said.
He said intermittent water sources such as rivers Manafwa, Sironko and Komorototo in Butebo District experience water decline to their worst levels during dry spells.
“The water levels in these rivers reduce drastically and this is partly due to increasing human activities, including farming and settlement on river banks,” Mr Mafabi said.
Mr Ibrahim Okurut, a resident of Akoboi Village in Butebo Sub-county, said River Komorototo used to harbour different fish species but they no longer exist.
“We used to get cat and lung fish from this river five years ago because then, it was still a river but now it has become a stream,” Mr Okurut said.
Komorototo is a trans-border wetland that covers Butebo, Pallisa Kibuku, Bukedea, and Kumi, among other districts.
Mr Johnson Aluburu, the Komorototo parish chief, said if Komorototo is not protected and conserved, it will disappear within five years.
Mr Deo Kabaalu, senior wetlands officer for eastern region at the Ministry of Water and Environment, blamed the worsening climate change effects on environmental degradation.
“But as government, we are on track to restore rivers and wetlands to mitigate the effects of climate change,” Mr Kabaalu said.
He said they have already started planting pillars to demarcate Komorototo wetland. Other wetlands to be restored include Mazuba-Mpologoma and Ivukula-Namakoke wetland in Namutumba District, Tirinyi –Mpologoma and Kitantalo-Mpologoma wetland (Kibuku) , and Lumbuye wetland in Budomero (Kaliro).
The restoration project is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and United Nations Development Programme. In Tororo District, River Malaba always bursts its banks whenever it rains, thus washing away crops and submerges houses.
The district National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) officer, Ms Mary Evelyn Aol, said they have started planting trees on the river banks.
Ms Aol also said they have started sensitising a communities and opening boundaries for all wetlands.
However, Mr Micheal Nantulya , the Butebo District vice chairperson, advised government to create alternative sources of livelihood for the affected farmers.
“The locals are willing to vacate the wetlands but the government should provide alternative sources of livelihood because they have been depending on the swamps,” he said.
Mr Joseph Malinga, a communication specialist in the Ministry of Water and Environment, said the affected locals will be given alternative sources of livelihood such as poultry, and fish farming, among others.
He said they have already trained about 96 trainers under the GCF project to help the wetland users to adapt to other sources of livelihood.
“The locals will also be trained on various income-generating activities to embark on within their communities,” Mr Malinga said.
Uganda’s wetland coverage has dropped from 17.5 per cent in the early 1990s to 8.5 per cent while forest coverage has dropped from 24 per cent to 12.4 per cent due to human activities, according to the Ministry of Water and Environment.
Original Source: Daily Monitor
Report links 1,600 deaths to pesticide poisoning
A total of 1,599 deaths between 2017 and 2022 were linked to organophosphate (pesticide) poisoning, researchers from Uganda National Institute of Public Health (UNIPH) and the Health ministry found.This information is in one of the reports presented yesterday during the 9th National Field Epidemiology Conference in Kampala.
The study led by Mr Robert Zavuga was based on the data from the District Health Information System (of the Health ministry), which is received from health facilities across the country.“A total of 37,883 (average of 6,314 per year) organophosphate (OP) [health facility] admissions and 1,599 (average of 267 per year) deaths were reported,” the report reads.
OP admission was defined by researchers as a hospital stay due to suspected OP poisoning. In contrast, OP poisoning death was defined as inpatient death with OP poisoning listed as the cause of death.The researchers linked the poisoning to the widespread use of OP pesticides by farmers in the country amid limited knowledge of how to use the pesticides safely.
“Uganda has an agricultural-based economy with widespread use of organophosphate-based pesticides. This elevates the risk for OP poisoning in the population,” the report reads further.According to the report, the overall average incidence was 15 organophosphate admissions per 100,000 persons.
On areas, sex and age that are most affected, the report indicates, “residents of Ankole Sub-region were more affected while those in Lango Sub-region were least affected.”“Males had a higher incidence of organophosphate poisoning than females. Children under 5 years had a higher incidence than persons above 5 years (20 vs 14/100,000),” the report said.
Overall, 1,599 (average of 267 per year) deaths were reported between 2017 and 2022. Residents in Kampala had the highest overall case fatality rate (CFR) while those in Teso had the lowest (CFR: 8.5 percent vs 2.2 percent),” the report reads.
According to the report released yesterday, “there was more than 3-fold decline in incidence of OP poisoning admissions per 100,000 population from 2017-2022,” however, the researchers noted, “there was no significant change in the case fatality rate of organophosphate poisoning.”
“The incidence of organophosphate poisoning admissions declined throughout the study period. Since 2014, Uganda has implemented periodic public awareness campaigns about safe use of pesticides for small-holder farmers and pesticide dealers,” the report says.
“These campaigns have included sensitisation about responsible handling to reduce risk of poisoning and environmental pollution.
Additional campaigns targeting government pesticide regulators, non-governmental organisations, and media have also been implemented to address the dangers of organophosphate poisoning,” it adds.
The report says Uganda has also implemented the Agricultural Chemical Control Act to use less toxic pesticides, which may be contributing to the reduction in organophosphate poisonings.“To continue this decline, it is important to monitor and strengthen these interventions,” the researchers from UNIPH and Health ministry recommended.
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Kigezi In Famine Scare After Drought Hits The Region
Farmers in Rubanda district are living in fear that they may be hit by famine due to the prolonged drought that has greatly affected the area. This comes after the area was hit by heavy rains in the month of May 2023, which left most of the gardens washed away, and since then the dry season has started up to date.
This is the first of its kind for Rubanda district and Kigezi at large to undergo such a prolonged drought.
According to farmers, this is the first of its kind for Rubanda to go through a long drought, adding that they are in fear that they may be hit by famine since they were used to receiving rains at the beginning of August, which is not the case this year. They add that even the seedlings that they had planted excepting that the rains would come have all dried up by the long spell.
Farmers also say that they don’t know what could be the cause that has stopped the rains,adding that the government should come up with a program that provides them with seedlings.
Akampurira Prossy Mbabazi, a woman Member of Parliament for Rubanda District, says that the issue of drought is not only in Rubanda District; however, this is the first of its kind. She adds that the drought comes after the area was hit by heavy rains, which caused a lot of challenges, adding that now it is the drought that may affect the farmers.
Akampurira further says that, as a leader,she will continue to educate farmers on better methods of farming depending on climate change.
Kikafunda Evelyne, founder of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), says it’s sad that farmers in Rubanda district and Kigezi at large are experiencing a long drought. She attributes it to problems of environmental degradation that include swamps being reclaimed, deforestation, and plastic pollution, adding that this is an indication that people don’t mind about the environment.
Kikafunda calls upon all people to take part in protecting the environment, adding that environmentalists should devise means on how to protect the environment.
It’s now been four months since it last rained in the districts of greater Kabale, that is, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga districts, as well as other parts of the Kigezi Subregion.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK5 days ago
A son of the community defender is shot dead, another critically injured in a retaliatory attack by security guards evicting locals off their land to give way to large-scale sugarcane growing.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
East African Court of Justice is to decide whether it has jurisdiction to try the EACOP case filed by Four East African NGOs today.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
The East Africa regional court dismisses a case challenging the construction of the EACOP project.