Government plans to increase investments in food and livestock production, as a gloomy weather prediction for areas around the Lake Victoria Basin and other parts of the country threatens production of cash crops. According sources, money planned to boost cash crops like tea, and coffee will instead be diverted to enhance other crops’ performance in a bid to offset deficits arising from adverse climate conditions.
In the current budget, the Ministry of Agriculture has been allocated Ush707 billion ($207 million). Although this is an increase of $2.9 million from the 2015/16 financial year, it still falls below $296 million that was expected by players in the sector. The Ministry of Agriculture has therefore advised farmers to plant early maturing varieties although it has set aside money to mitigate drought and floods.
A seasonal climate outlook for June to August released by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority indicates light intermittent showers in the central region of the country. Dry conditions punctuated with occasional showers are expected up to the end of the season.
On the other hand, northern and eastern Uganda will receive normal rainfall. However, scientists warn that the rainfall forecast for the region is likely to be negated by an increase in diseases, especially malaria and other water-borne illnesses.
While Uganda’s forecast is specific to the country, dry conditions could prevail across East Africa. According to a review of the 43rd Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa, held in Naivasha, Kenya, where climate experts reviewed global climate systems and the implications for seasonal rainfall in the region, it was observed that the region would experience La Ninã this year.
Uganda’s normal rainy season is March, April and May while June to December makes up the second rainy season.