By David Luganda – NECJOGHA

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has predicted enhanced rainfall for agriculture activities for months of May, April, May rain season in Uganda.

The years’ localized rain season forecast for Uganda was released by Hon Sekindi Aisha Minister of State for Water at a press conference organised by UNMA at their offices at Luzira in Kampala.

According to the seasonal forecast released on Wednesday 23rd February 2022, the start of seasonal rains is expected around late February to early March in several parts of the southern sector that include the southwestern, western and Lake Victoria basin. The start is expected to progressively extend to northern parts of the country around mid -March to early April.

“Overall, Near Average to enhanced Rainfall expected over most parts of the country March to May 2022. Farmers are advised to finalize preparations and plant early to optimize the Rains,” UNMA tweeted on February 24.

Floods are expected to occur in low lying areas and flash floods in urban areas like Kampala. Landslides are expected in highland areas of Rwenzori, kigezi and Elgon.

“Generally, the March to May (MAM 2022) forecast presents good prospects for improved agricultural production across the country. Farmers and other agricultural practitioners are highly encouraged to take advantage of the expected good rains to optimise food and crop production,” the forecast says.

The weatherman further warned that there is an increased likelihood that the start of seasonal rains would be characterized by severe isolated thunderstorm associated with lightning and hailstorms over several parts of the country.

The downscaled seasonal forecast was released after the previous 60th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (#GHACOF60) which convened online on the 17th of February by ICPAC (IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre) in collaboration with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the region and other partners.

The general advisories include;

  • Planting of trees is highly encouraged through agroforestry
  • Farmers are advised to use appropriate soil management practices and technology to control soil erosion and nutrient loss
  • Proper seed and crop selection based on seasonal characterises with aid of the agriculture extension staff at various levels is encouraged;
  • Farmers are encouraged to practice water harvesting for micro-irrigation (where necessary) especially during dry spells;
  • Stocking of livestock veterinary drugs against waterborne diseases such as worms across all pastoral communities and smallholder farmer’s level;
  • Restocking livestock farms, fish ponds and apiaries is encouraged;
  •  Harvest and storage of animal feeds are encouraged.

Disaster Management Sector Advisories

  • Desilt drainage systems especially in urban areas;
  • Dig/open drainage channels around household and gardens;
  • Avoid crossing flooded road sections;
  • Install and construct water harvesting facilities;
  • Community awareness campaigns should be encouraged especially by NGOs, CBOs;
  • Adopt to multi-agency and multi-hazard approach for effective disaster risk reduction;
  • Communities in high-risk areas need to be informed in good time including preparations for any planned relocations through authorised institutions;
  • Decision makers should be informed early enough to be able to allocate resources and provide prompt support;
  • There is need for effective multi-sectoral coordination at national level by the disaster risk management institutions and timely activation of task forces.

Water, Energy and Hydro-power generation Advisories

  • Water Harvesting is encouraged to offset dry spells shocks that might occur in coming season
  • Plans for optimization of power generation and distribution should be enhanced due to the expected increased discharge of seasonal rainwater into the water bodies;
  • Areas expected to receive average to above-average rainfall should undertake integrated food management, flood preparedness and mitigation strategies in food prone areas
  • Setting up and protection of vegetated/forested buffer zones around water sources to guard against water pollution should be encouraged;
  • Communities should avoid consumption of contaminated water and rehabilitation of drainage facilities should be undertaken to avoid flooding in urban areas;
  • Urban authorities need to clear and reduce blockage of the drainage systems to avoid waterlogging on streets
  • Strong/violent winds may be experienced that can cause structural damages to buildings (below off rooftops and collapse of poorly constructed buildings);
  • Desilting drainage and other water channels to curtail flooding is encouraged.

Health Sector Impacts during MAM 2022 Season include;

  • Increased cases of malaria are expected in most parts of the country;
  • Diarrhoeal diseases (Cholera, dysentery);
  • Waterborne diseases such as bilharzia
  • Weather associated diseases such as asthmatic cases, rift valley fever in the cattle corridor

The general pubic is therefore advised to do the following:

  • Monitor and reposition stocks of drugs
  • Enhance disease surveillance in flood prone areas for prevention and treatment;
  • Integrate health hygiene to communities
  • Routine distribution of long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets;
  • Encourage routine water treatment at all levels;
  • Enhance good sanitation and health practices.

Read the full seasonal forecast here: MAM2022 SEASONAL RAINFALL OUTLOOK

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