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Farmers in Acoli lose acres of crops to floods

Heavy rains in Acoli sub region have left acres of crop gardens submerged.

The heavy rains which poured for a better part of August are continuing, causing massive destruction to crops such as beans, simsim and soya beans among others.

Some farmers say that they have had to clear out some of their crops such as simsim prematurely, and replace them with flood-tolerant crops such as rice, albeit at a loss.

In Paicho Sub-County in Gulu district, officials estimate that at least 500 acres of crop gardens were recently washed away by floods.

Simon Opiro, the Chairperson, PaichoKal Growers Cooperative Society Limited, said the heavy rains have affected every farmer in the sub county, 93.1 percent of whose population is reliant on agriculture.

Opiro says 143 out of the 219 members of the cooperative planted at least an acre of beans, and all of them report that their crop has been destroyed by the floods.

“Much of the first season beans rotted in the garden because of too much rain; now the ones we planted this season are yellowing because of excess rain,” Opiro said.

He adds that simsim was the worst affected crop, often being swept away by floods, and a number of farmers, including himself, are replacing it with other flood-resistant crops.

“I spent Shs 900,000 to plant three acres of simsim which was all washed by the floods. I have already cleared the garden to plant millet,” Opiro said.

Peter Okot, LC III of Paicho Sub County revealed that the entire parishes of Pagik and Omel are flooded, and parts of Te-Olam, Kalumu are also affected. 

“I am worried that if the heavy rain continues the farmers are going to suffer both food and financial insecurity because almost 100 percent of the population depends on agriculture,” Okot said.

Okot who supplements his sub-county work with money from farming, says each year he plants between 2-3 acres of simsim, and earns at least Shs 2 million, but has lost hope of getting that lifeline this season.

Jackson Okwera, a farmer in Lalogi Sub County, in Omoro district, also says he injected at least Shs 800,000 into planting two acres of simsim in August but it was destroyed by floods, and he has cleared the garden to plant millet.

Okwera, who is also a bodaboda rider, says floods have also greatly affected farms in Kitgum, Lamwo and Agago. For farmers in Agago and Pader, the heavy rains come as double trouble, as they had already lost hundreds of acres of crops to floods and hailstorm in June and July, respectively.

Reports from the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, UNMA, indicate that the current above average rains in the sub-region are expected to continue until mid-October, while the rainy season is expected to end around late November or early December.

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