Farmers’ Advisory from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, in collaboration with line Ministries Agencies and Departments of Government seeks to keep farmers informed of new developments that have an impact on agricultural production.

Having noted the increase in rains across the country that is predicted to continue increasing as reported by weather experts, the Ministry advises farmers as follows.

General Forecast for the Second Season 2018

Observations by International Climate Scientists have predicted approximately a 50% chance of El Niño forming in the coming months. Based on this, together with other information, Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), has come up with the following down-scaled forecast: for Uganda. Overall, there is an increased likelihood of above normal rainfall over most parts of Uganda and near normal rainfall in most parts of Karamoja and southern cattle corridor

Figure1: Spatial map showing seasonal rainfall outlook for SOND 2018 over Uganda.

Regional summaries  

Western parts of Central: Nakasongola, Luwero, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke Kiboga, Mubende, Kasanda, Sembabule, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kyotera and Rakai 

This region has been experiencing isolated outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms that are expected to continue up to mid-September when the onset of the seasonal rainfall is expected. The peak of seasonal rainfall is expected around October, and the cessation of seasonal rainfall is expected around early December. Overall, near normal (average) to above normal (above average) rainfall conditions are expected to prevail over this region.

Eastern parts of Central:  (Mukono, Buikwe, Kayunga, Buvuma) 

These districts are experiencing occasional outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms which are signifying the onset of seasonal rainfall. The seasonal rainfall is expected to reach the peak around mid / late October and the cessation is expected to occur around early / mid-December. There are high chances of above normal (above average) rains to prevail over most parts of this area.

Central and Western Lake Victoria Basin (Kalangala, Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka, Mpigi, Butambala, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi, Gomba and Mityana) 

This area has been experiencing isolated showers and thunderstorms, which are expected to continue up to the onset of seasonal rains expected around mid-September. The rains are expected to reach the peak levels around mid-October and the cessation around early December. Overall, above normal (above average) rainfall is expected to prevail over this region.

Eastern Lake Victoria Basin: (Jinja, Bugiri, Busia, Mayuge, Namayingo and Tororo) 

The region is experiencing occasional showers and thunderstorms that are expected to persist up to early / mid-September, when seasonal rains are expected to get established and reach peak levels around mid/late October. The end of the seasonal rainfall is expected around early/mid-December. Overall near normal (average) to above normal (above average) rainfall is expected over this region.

South Western (Kabale, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Kiruhura, Isingiro, Ibanda, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Mitooma, Sheema, Rubirizi, Rukiga and Kasese) 

Following the dry conditions which were experienced during July/August the region has started receiving outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms over several places. However, the onset of steady rains is expected around early/mid-September. The peak of rains is expected around October. The cessation of seasonal rains is expected around early/mid-December. Overall, near normal (near average) with the tendency to above normal (above average) rainfall is expected to prevail over this region.

Central Western (Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, Masindi, Buliisa, Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Bunyagabu and Kibaale) 

This region is currently experiencing isolated showers and thunderstorms which are expected to persist up to around early/mid-September when the seasonal rains are expected to begin. The rains are expected to reach peak levels around mid-October to early November. The cessation of the seasonal rainfall is expected around mid-December. There are high chances of near normal (near average) to above normal (above average) rains over most parts of this region.

South Eastern: (Kamuli, Iganga, Bugweri, Luuka, Namutumba, Buyende, Kaliro and Butaleja) 

The rains which are being experienced in this area are expected to continue up to mid-September when steady seasonal rainfall is expected to get established. The peak of rains is expected around mid/late October, thereafter, a reduction in the rainfall is expected to set in and continue up to the end of the season around early/mid-December. Overall, near normal (near average) rainfall tending to above normal (above average) rainfall is expected.

Eastern Central: (Pallisa, Butebo, Budaka, Kibuku, Mbale, Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo, Bukedea, Kumi, Kaberamaido and Soroti) 

Currently the region is experiencing light rains which are expected to continue up to mid-September when the onset of the seasonal rainfall expected. However, the peak of the rainfall is expected to be around early/mid October, the cessation of the rainfall is expected to be around early December. Overall, there are high chances of above normal (above average) rains to prevail over the region.

North Eastern: (Amuria, Kapelebyong, Katakwi, Moroto, Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, Abim, Napak, Amudat, and Kaabong) 

This region is currently experiencing occasional heavy showers and thunderstorms, which are expected to continue up to around early/mid-September when the onset of the seasonal rains is expected. The peak levels of rainfall are expected during October and cessation is expected around late November. There are high chances for near normal (near average) with slightly tendency to above normal rains over this region.

North Western (Moyo, Yumbe, Adjumani, Arua, Terego, Zombo, Nebbi, Pakwach, Koboko) 

This region is currently experiencing occasional showers and thunderstorms which are expected to continue up to onset of the rainfall season. The end of the seasonal rainfall is expected around late November to early December. Overall, near normal (near average) to above normal (above average) rainfall is expected over this region.

Eastern Northern Part: (Lira, Kitgum, Agago, Otuke, Pader, Kole, Dokolo and Kaberamaido) 

The rains are expected to continue and reach the peak levels around early/mid October. Thereafter, the cessation of the rainfall is expected around late November to early December. There are high chances for this region to receive normal (average) to above normal (above average) rainfall.

Central Northern Parts: (Gulu, Apac, Kwania Pader, Lamwo Nwoya, Amuru, Oyam and Kiryandongo) 

The rains that are being experienced over this region is expected to continue up to around late November, and thereafter, a reduction in the rainfall punctuated with dry conditions are expected to prevail up to end of the forecast period. Overall, near normal (near average) to above normal (above average) rainfall is expected during this season.

Advice to Farmers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry 

Planting

In Northern (Karamoja, Acholi, Lango and Westnile) regions, where the second season rains are established, farmers are advised to observe appropriate crop and animal husbandry practices to minimise disease spread and maximise production. Further planting of short duration crops is encouraged to make use of the extended rains into the months of November.

The rest of the country, farmers should use the prevailing sporadic outbreaks of light showers and prepare land. Planting of root crops: cassava, sweet potatoes and sowing of cereals: maize, sorghum, millet and fruits especially pineapples are recommended during this period before steady rains set in by mid-October.  Planting of beans should be staggered in September and October.

Planting early maturing and drought tolerant varieties is highly encouraged in areas where rains are predicted to end late November to early December, especially in the rain shadow areas of the cattle corridor. During land preparation please adhere to the recommended moisture and soil conservation techniques to reduce on the expected flooding from above normal rains.

Planting Materials

Planting materials such as cassava cuttings, sweet potatoe vines and banana suckers/plantlets are in good supply due to effects of the fairly wet conditions the country has experienced this year. However, cassava and banana diseases are still prevailing across the country. Farmers are advised to approach the nearest Agricultural Extension Workers on how to get the recommended disease free varieties that have been developed by NARO for disease tolerance and better yields. These are available in the Zonal Agricultural Research Institutes and the farmers who have been selected to establish seed multiplication plots. You are also encouraged to plant vitamin A fortified sweet potatoe varieties to improve your household nutrition.

Pests and Disease

The high temperatures being experienced may enhance pests and disease development for both livestock and crops. Farmers should be on alert and ready to spray.  In case they reach epidemic levels, such incidences should be reported to the nearest local authorities and agricultural extension workers for further action.

Livestock Management

Livestock farmers are advised to improve the grazing grounds by planting pasture seeds. Water ways leading to various watering points should be cleared to ensure harvesting of adequate and clean water for livestock: Ensure appropriate livestock housing with good drainage and hygiene to reduce risk of diseases. Rainy conditions encourage increased incidences of biting flies, tsetse flies and ticks. Farmers are advised to increase the frequency of spraying with acaricides that kill both ticks and flies to at least once a week.

Fisheries Sub-sector

Water run-offs from the expected heavy rains carry a lot of materials into large water bodies which are favourable for the growth of food for fish phytoplankton (small plants) and zooplankton (small animals) in water bodies. Such feed and the cold water temperatures favour growth and breeding for fish. This season, therefore, high fish catch is expected from water bodies in the country.

Food Security

The continuous rains experienced in the country during the first season this year, favoured production of most crops especially root crops, cereals and bananas across the country. There is, therefore, adequate food currently in the county, which is evident from the prevailing low prices across the country. These low prices for food, especially maize is partly due to a sharp decline in the demand for food from our country by the neighbouring countries because of issues of quality our maize had last year. Farmers are therefore encouraged to use appropriate technologies to store well the available cereals to avoid post-harvest losses because prices are expected to rise in the next few months. Farmers also are encouraged to take the issue of quality of their products serious if farming is to be done as a business.

Climate change remains a global concern and Uganda, among other countries is already experiencing its adverse effects. Planning of farming activities should consider use of the recommended technologies to mitigate and adapt to impacts of climate change in order to increase agricultural production.

Notes for editors

Below are additional details for editors.

About the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is a Ministry in the Government of Uganda charged with creating an enabling environment in the Agricultural Sector.

The Ministry formulates, reviews and implement national policies, plans, strategies, regulations and standards and enforce laws, regulations and standards along the value chain of crops, livestock and fisheries.

Vision: A competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector.

Mission: To transform subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

See strategic objectives here.

See Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan here.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is made up of four Directorates including the Directorate of Crop Resources, Directorate of Animal Resources, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services and the Directorate of Fisheries Resources each with Departments, Divisions and Partnership Projects.

The Departments of the Ministry which do not fall directly in the above include the Department of Agricultural Planning and Development, the Human Resource Department, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production.

The Ministry is also made up of seven Agencies including the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU) and the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB).