By Godfrey Ojore
Teso region has undergone an unbearable period of drought for close to five months. In the beginning of March, some places in Teso started getting rains but not enough to start cultivating.
However this week, rains have covered the entire region and farmers are fully armed with their hand hoes, ox plough, axe and pangas.
The rains have come at the time most families in Teso are already starving after running out of food.
“The first crops to help people survive hunger are sorghum and sweet potatoes and cow peas and green gram because they rescue starving communities faster,” Lawrence Ekuru the county clan leader of Itekok-Ikaalen Oruo said.
Ekuru explained that cassava can be planted in the season session because sweet potatoes can salvage the hunger burden among the people.
However, for those with large quantities of land, people can plant cassava even at first since cassava flour is a staple food in Teso.
However sorghum takes only three month to mature as opposed to cassava that takes close to a year for it to be ready.
“Sorghum and millet rescue people faster and with the current rains, farmers need to get busy in their gardens,” advised Robert Ogalo, the model farmer in Serere district.
He however calls on farmers to embrace spraying of crops because of the rampant pests that now attack even sorghum.
“In the past sorghum was not sprayed but now it’s necessary for farmers to spray it because pests have started attacking gardens of sorghum just like maize,” said.
The Uganda National Metrological Authority (UNMA) March to May seasonal rainfall outlook indicates that the region is expected to receive an average rainfall.
“The peak rains are expected around mid to late April with cessation expected around early to mid-June. Overall, there is a high chance for this region to receive near normal (close to average),” the report said.
“Use of appropriate soil management practices and technology to control soil erosion and nutrient loss is encouraged in areas expected to receive above normal rainfall and in highland areas,” the report further advises farmers.
It should be noted according to UNMA that areas expected to receive near normal rainfall does not mean that they will receive little rainfall.
“The implication of this is that these areas will receive rainfall within the average range their long term mean and rainfall is expected to adequately support the normal socio-economic activities;
It is also worth noting that localized episodic flash flood events may occur in areas that are expected to receive near normal rainfall as a result of isolated heavy downpours.
Similarly, in localized areas expected to receive above-normal rainfall, poor rainfall distribution may as well occur,” a report signed by acting executive director David Elweru said.