Monday January 6 2014

Food shortage looms in Rwenzori region

Floods that hit Kasese continue to compound the situation threatening famine in the district.

Floods that hit Kasese continue to compound the situation threatening famine in the district. Photo by Enid Ninsiima. 

By Thembo Kahungu Misairi


After devastating floods in May last year, Kasese District is now grappling with a severe drought that has damaged food crops.

Leaders of the district at the foot of Rwenzori are now worried about the possibility of food shortage and the resultant hunger. “This is a point of much concern in the district. Food insecurity will cause famine if no serious efforts are taken by you the local leaders. Our people need food but there is nothing to harvest,” Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga said.

The May floods washed much of the crops, livestock and hundreds of homes when River Nyamwamba that flows from Rwenzori burst its banks ravaging property in the Kilembe Valley area.
Dr Kiyonga, who is also the MP for Bukonjo County West, last week warned residents at Bwera Primary Teachers’ College in Mpondwe-Lubiriha town council that Kasese sub-region might face food insecurity.

Areas including Katholhu, Bukangara, Kabirizi, Kinyabakazi and Kihara that have been hit hard are some of the most productive ones. Indigenous foods likes yams, which have for generations been a major source of livelihood in most families are reducing around the Rwenzori ranges.

The minister said in most parts of the district, people are having only one meal a day. According to nutrition experts three meals are recommended per day.

However, local leaders also blamed the drought on the banana bacteria wilt which has destroyed banana plantations in most valleys in the district. Dr Kiyonga who is also a farmer, urged all the sub-counties to mobilize farmers to plant more coffee because it still doing well in the district.