Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has cautioned development partners implementing Agro-pastoralists projects in Karamoja to avoid issuing weather forecast related information to farmers.
John Lodungokol, the Assistant Commission in Charge of Crop Production in the Ministry of Agriculture says that whenever the planting season approaches, several development partners generate their own weather forecast information and distribute it to farmers, something he says must stop.
“As a ministry, we have been experiencing that challenge, our partners give farmers uncoordinated weather forecast information. When farmers begin planting and rains disappear or become too much, the blame goes to the government which must be stopped,” he said.
According to Lodungokol, only the Uganda National Meteorology Authority (UNMA) is mandated to issue weather forecast information in the country. He says that even MAAIF waits for updates on the seasonal calendar and issues of nature from UNMA before disseminating it to farmers.
“It must be verified and compared to the world wide forecasts,” he said. Simon Lomokol, a maize farmer and resident of Lorengedwat sub county in Nabilatuk district says the caution by the Ministry to development partners has come at the right time when farmers are clearing their gardens.
“I am one of the victims of uncoordinated weather forecast information. Last year, one of the development partners told me to start planting and that the rains were to return soon. I planted all the seeds but the rains delayed to come and I got affected so much,” he said.
Mathew Mudong, a small scale farmer at Lorengechora sub county in Napak district told this publication that uncoordinated release of weather forecast information has made other people to portray Karimojongs as lazy people who are often crying of hunger.
“We sometimes get confused because we don’t get clear weather information on when the rains will start and end so that we get prepared to grow crops, but instead our people including government agents give us information that does not match,” he said.
Ruth Nakiru, a farmer and resident of Lomerimong village in Ngoleriet sub county wants the government to set up a regional weather station, saying it would help them access timely and accurate information.