Weather: Farmers must harvest water

Tuesday August 20 2019


By Editor

The weather for the last three months has not been quite what we expected. It seems to be both wet and dry and one cannot plan for weeks ahead if the weather is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
European countries have seen an increase in temperatures with some experiencing temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Uganda on the other hand, is currently experiencing rather temperate weather, with very cool days and a little sun on some days without much rain.
Climate change is indeed real. Earlier last month, during the Climate Change Symposium organised by Nation Media Group in partnership with Ministry of Water and Environment, and with development partners UNDP, GIZ and aBi, Gen Moses Ali, the First Deputy Prime Minister, talked about innovations that Uganda needs to start doing to prepare for the climate change that is happening “It is time for action which will help Uganda address climate change challenges,” he said.
Gen Ali is right. One of the problems we face is that many farmers - both subsistence and commercial - rely on the weather to plant their crops or dry them after harvesting.
During the wet season, rows are dug and seeds planted as the farmers wait for the rains. Then they come and plants sprout. One of the problems is that during the rain season, water is wasted. Hardly any harvesting of it is done to be kept for future use. And so the next season, farmers sit and wait for the rain to come and are its mercy.
According to a report released by United States Geological Survey, “Uganda receives most of its rain between March and June, and rainfall totals of more than 500 millimeters (mm) during this season typically provide enough water for crops and livestock.”
This amount of rainfall, however, the report says, keeps decreasing over the decades. It is important, therefore, that we begin to see what we can do with what we have, even as we work on getting better ways to farm during wet or dry seasons.
Farmers should be encouraged to harvest water in big quantities on their farms in water tanks, and taught how to keep it usable. And not only farmers. Commercial buildings should be made to place gutters so as to collect water that can be used for activities within the buildings.
This water can even be given out or sold at low prices to those that need it more. Households should also be asked to do the same. Let’s start with what we have even as we look to getting more expensive and longer-lasting innovative methods to improve our agriculture.

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