What you need to know:
- In a May 30 seasonal rainfall update, Dr Bob Ogwang, the acting executive director of UNMA, said the rainfall season of June, July, and August (JJA) is generally a dry period which is witnessed over the southern parts of the country, especially in southwestern, central, Lake Victoria basin and parts of the eastern region.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has asked citizens to stock enough food and diversify economic activities, warning that declining rainfall would affect production.
In a May 30 seasonal rainfall update, Dr Bob Ogwang, the acting executive director of UNMA, said the rainfall season of June, July, and August (JJA) is generally a dry period which is witnessed over the southern parts of the country, especially in southwestern, central, Lake Victoria basin and parts of the eastern region.
“It also marks the end of the first rainfall season and a harvesting period for seasonal crops over the country,” he said.
This means farmers, who planted their crops late, around April, may experience low harvests.
However, UNMA indicated in their forecast that over most parts of the northern region, the JJA period is a continuation of the rainfall season.
Dr Ogwang also said there would be increased water accidents due to strong winds in JJA season. In their review, UNMA found “increased chance of developing El Nino conditions over the coming months”.
The authority based on the above considerations, details of the climatology of Uganda and scientific tools for climate analysis, to come up with the detailed rainfall outlook.
Among the expected impacts include increased incidences of livestock and crop pests and diseases, shortage of pasture and water for livestock production.
Other impacts include water stress for some crops such as bananas, coffee, tea and fruit trees; rough water bodies due to strong winds causing strong waves, water accidents, increased honey production and reduced fish production.
Around 3,500 Ugandans across 74 districts are reported to have drowned over a two and half-year period, according to a 2021 report by Makerere University’s School of Public Health. This translates into 1,400 deaths per year.
Dr Frederick Oporia, a lecturer at Makerere University School of Public health, said in lakeside fishing communities, “Uganda has the world’s highest drowning death rate of 502 per 100,000 cases.’’
In their advisory, UNMA highlighted irrigating farmland and investing in water harvesting technologies. They also called for mulching in gardens to conserve soil moisture, planting short maturing crops, and managing pests and diseases.
Other interventions include storing enough food for household use, especially cereals like maize, planting vegetables such as nakati, dodo and egg-plant which either require less water or are fast maturing.
Diversifying economic enterprises to cushion any fallback position is also key. UNMA finally said towards end of JJA, farmers should plow land to prepare for the new season.