Cattle keepers in Ntoroko district are facing problems of accessing water for their livestock. Some parts of the district which include Karugutu and Nombe have been experiencing a long dry spell for the past two months, which has left livestock with no water and pasture to feed on.
Some parts of the district which include Karugutu and Nombe have been experiencing a long dry spell for the past two months, which has left livestock with no water and pasture to feed on.
Majority of residents in the district are cattle keepers who rely on livestock as their source of income and a symbol of status. The sub counties lack water which forces herdsmen to travel for more than 20 kilometres to River Semuliki, which is the only water source.
Rose Baguma, a dairy farmer in Nombe village says that in the past two months of the dry spell, she has lost more than twenty heads of cattle.
Baguma says that says she had planned to sell the cattle and pay school fees for her children, but this no more. She also says that she can’t sell the remaining cattle because they are all emaciated.
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At Karugutu cattle market, some of the cattle kraals are empty because the cattle keepers have nothing to sell.
Richard Mwesige, a cattle keeper, says he sold all his thirty heads of cattle in the past one month.
Mwesige says that in some areas, where there is water, the water is salty and dirty which can’t be consumed by the residents and the livestock. Mwesige says that a jerry can of water has increased from 700 shillings to between 1000 and 1500 depending on the distances.
Patrick Businge, the District Veterinary Officer, says that farmers have been encouraged to adopt water harvesting technique during the rainy season to help them during drought. He says that whenever it rains, the water flows away and it’s not utilized by the cattle keepers.
Businge says that the government should also teach the residents about the use irrigation, since part of the district is covered by River Semuliki.
Michael Baguma, the district agricultural officer, says that the government has in the past four years been promising to construct water dams for the livestock, but no dam has been constructed, which worries the farmers.
Baguma says that one water dam can facilitate at least 4,000 cattle. Baguma says that the district needs more than 60 dams for the more than 400,000 cattle in the district.
Last year, while visiting the district, Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Animal Husbandry said that Ntoroko district will be included on the list of cattle corridor districts and will benefit from water dams and other facilities, which will improve the livestock in the district.