Cattle keepers in Nakasongola District have lost more than 800 head of cattle since drought hit the area in December last year. Some of the cattle keepers have been forced to sell off their animals at give-away prices instead of watching them die of thirst or hunger.
Nakasongola is one of the cattle corridor districts of the country and it is almost annually affected by drought. This is reason enough for the Ministry of Agriculture to moot a sustainable solution to counter this disaster that yearly sees cattle keepers lose their animals to drought.
The construction of valley dams could be one of the most viable solutions that can be pursued. This will go a long way in providing water to irrigate pasture fields and for drinking by animals.
Unfortunately, according to the district veterinary office, only 20 dams have been constructed in the district, instead of the 100 planned last season. The 20 dams cannot serve all the animals and humans adequately.
The veterinary office also says that machines that were taken to the district by the Ministry of Agriculture to dig dams were abruptly taken away before work could be completed. Does the ministry have an explanation for this disturbing development?
More than 250 farmers had applied for dams but their hope of getting one has been halted because of the absence of the machines. It is important that an explanation is given and urgent action taken to ensure Nakasongola and indeed all districts in the cattle corridor are given a lasting solution to the problem of drought that hits the area often.
Having constant supply of water and pasture will relieve farmers of the fear that their animals could die. But importantly, cattle that feed well and drink sufficient water produce plenty of milk.
Survival in the cattle corridor is largely dependent on cattle and it is important that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, ensures that they play their part so that families do not lose their source of livelihood.