Agriculture Experts: Poor Farming Practices Threat to Climate, Food Security

Experts in the agriculture sector are concerned that if nothing is done to change the current farming practices, malady Uganda could face a serious food crisis. They say that global climate trends have changed tremendously and this has a direct impact on food production.
The World Meteorological Organization referred to 2016 as the hottest year ever recorded so far. This same year, information pills temperature is said to have increased by 0.5 °c to 1.3°c.
While addressing a press conference at Uganda Media Centre on Friday, troche Okaasai Opolot the Director Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture said that much as Uganda is still food secure, interventions must be made to address environmental threats.
“Climate is changing and methods of food production must change too. Uganda has experienced an increased incidence of hailstones, lightings, flooding and soil erosion in the recent past. Many of these leave peoples plantations and gardens destroyed.”
Opolot stressed that food security starts at household level and appealed to Ugandans to put in place storage facilities in their homes.
Beatrice Byarugaba, the Director f Agriculture Extension Services mentioned common practices that have aggregated changes in climate patterns including deforestation, encroachment on wetlands, urbanization and cultivating in fragile ecosystems like steep slopes as was the case in Bududa.
“Farmers need to embrace varieties that are drought and pest tolerant as well as water harvesting methods like ponds which have been introduced by government. It is also important that we take agro forestry seriously by interplanting fruit trees with other crops,” she added.
Western and Southwestern regions of Uganda are the most food secure, according to Ministry of Agriculture statistics with 95% of the population with food surpluses, 5% under food stress and 0% in a food crisis.
In Karamjoja region however, the situation is rather shocking. Statistics reveal that 14% of the population in Karamoja have food surpluses, 49% is under food stress while 37% is in a food crisis. The same region has faced perennial hunger.
The Central and Eastern regions as well as Acholi and Mango are relatively secure.
Byarugaba said that the Agriculture Ministry through NAADS have established a research centre to find technical approaches to restore food security in Karamoja.
“We have dug dams both for the livestock and irrigation in Karamoja. In addition, alternative food types like cassava, pigeon peas, sorghum, rice and cow peas have been introduced in the area,” she told journalists.
Quite surprisingly, according to Ambrose Agona the Director General National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), livestock especially ruminants like cows are responsible for emitting methane, a greenhouse gas that is a threat to climate. He cautioned farmers to be wary of what kind of grass they fees their livestock on.
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