Small-scale irrigation schemes are key to food security in Uganda
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As we now know, the people of Katine, the wider Teso region and other parts of Uganda are bracing themselves for famine following back-to-back drought. This is, of course, bad news, which makes the recent G8 pledge to support Africa to feed itself all the more timely. But what bothers me is the failure of the Ugandan government and indeed its donors–including the UK–to realise that simplistic solutions will only be stop-gap measures. Yes, there is talk about fertilizers and drought-resistant crop varieties, but governments have pretty much maintained a business-as-usual approach to agriculture. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's 2009 Least Developed Countries report says as much.
People in Katine realise that the weather is changing and many ask what is happening to "their" world. A year ago, one village leader's message to the G8 heads of state was that they should help Katine plant trees to help stabilise the unpredictable weather. Of course, planting a tree in Katine is no panacea for all the crimes committed against the planet, especially by wealthier countries, but the 55-year-old village chairman was thinking along the right lines. But what does his president, Yoweri Museveni, in Kampala think? That it is all right for natural forests like Mabira to be replaced with sugar cane farms because sugar cane companies will pay billions of Ugandan shillings in taxes.
Sources: Guardian (UK)
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