AMURU-Farmers in Amuru district want to be sensitised on how to preserve the environment while utilising land for production.
The farmers have come to learn that their poor farming methods continue to destroy the environment, leading to climate change. Amuru district is no exception to the prolonged drought experienced in the region in recent times.
According to a recent finding by Amuru district, 60 percent of the forest cover had been depleted due to human activities including commercial charcoal burning and agricultural activities.
Paulo Oketta, the LCI Chairperson of Coo-rom village, Pagoro Parish in Lamogi Sub-county said several farmers in his area have in recent times indiscriminately cut down forests to have more land for cultivation.
He says some have as a result of the prolonged sunshine resorted to clearing swamps to plant crops like tomatoes, rice, onions, and cabbages among others.
Okello said that the inadequate knowledge on environmental protection has left people cutting down trees in ways that make it hard for the trees to regenerate.
“Many of the farmers even dig up the roots as they use tractors and ox-ploughs to clear their fields. As a result, many of the areas which were heavily forested have become bare grounds,” Okello said.
Nancy Adong, a resident of Apoto ki Too village, Oboo Parish, Guru guru Sub-county says many of the farmers have any knowledge about protecting the environment while cultivating.
Adong says that her husband has been digging along a swamp to plant rice, cabbages, and tomatoes. Last year, she says, it flooded.
Denis Okot, a farmer in Gira gira, Guru guru Sub-county says the sensitisation being conducted by the environmental experts are inadequate.
“Our Environmental experts are not frequently teaching us, that’s why many people without knowledge destroying the environment and not preserving and protecting. We need more training so that people can appreciate the importance of protecting the environment,” Okot said.
According to Okot, there is a need for the government and experts to translate the information about the conservation of the environment into local languages so that people are empowered to protect the environment.
Julius Otim, an Agricultural Officer attached to Amuru, Guru guru, and Layima sub-counties in Amuru however says their efforts to sensitise the farmers have been dwarfed by a lack of political will by the politicians, whom the locals listen to.
According to Otim, for the fight to protect and preserve the environment to be successful, there is a need for all the stakeholders including political, cultural, religious leaders to champion mindset change among farmers in the district so they can adapt to techniques that protect and preserve the environment.
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