NFA Under Fire Over Illegal Logging In Bugoma Forest

By George Busiinge

The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has come under fire from the communities neighboring Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Hoima district for abetting illegal lumbering. Residents accuse NFA officials for laxity, which has fueled the illegal timber trade and charcoal burning within the forest. 

They expressed their concern during a two day collaborative meeting organized by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) held at Kabwoya sub county headquarters  in Hoima.  Annet Agaba, a tree planting coordinator for Kidoma Conservation Development Association told the meeting that NFA officials don't respond to calls when residents notify them about the activities of illegal loggers. 

She explains that when the Community Forest Management groups entered partnership with NFA, the Bugoma forest was in a very good shape, but the laxity of NFA officials has fueled lumbering. Charles Byamuleme, a resident of Kyangwali Sub County accuses NFA especially the forest supervisors and police personally deployed to guard the forest for conniving with illegal loggers to cut down trees. 

Stuart Maniraguha, the Budongo Range Manager, said the issue of illegal lumbering involves both residents and community members. 
He said they are strengthening partnerships with communities and other stakeholders to ensure the reserve is protected and free from illegal activities. 

Joan Akiza from National Association of Professional Environmentalists -NAPE called upon all the stakeholders to work together in order to prevent the cutting of timbers and charcool in Bugoma forest and promised total support as NAPE . 

 

Wildlife Conflict Resilience Fund Launched

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) Uganda for wildlife research, education and conservation, a Canadian Non-Government Organization (NGO) has launched 18 months project codenamed Human Wildlife Conflict Resilience Fund. 

The project is aimed at enhancing community resilience to losses from wild incursions through the development of local and regional compensation scheme that is anchored on community driven and financing mechanism. 

The project was launched by the principal assistant secretary (PAS) Masindi district local government, Richard Kiiza who represented his boss the chief administrative officer, Mark Tivu at Hotel Aribas in Masindi town on 17th May 2017.  

While addressing stakeholders during a function to launch the project, Umar Tumwine, the Education Programs Manager with JGI said that, the project is being piloted in villages of Kasongoire parish, Budongo Sub County in Masindi district. The villages include Kisagura, Kasongoire, Nyakyeju, Waipacu, Bulyango, Kiryamyongo, Kimanya and Kyabijwenge.

He disclosed that, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) is funding the project that will be implemented by the JGI, Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, The environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST) together with Kasongoire Community Development Association (KACODA).

According to Tumwine, JGI has already carried out sensitization meeting at schools for pupils and with parents in villages to educate them on how they can respond whenever they meet chimpanzees. 

Dr. Joshua Rukundo, the conservation programs director with Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust noted that, currently, in Uganda there is no law that compels UWA, the custodian of wildlife to compensate people for the losses of lives and property as a result of incursion by apes.

Rukundo said the project is trying to develop some kind of compensation money that will be contributed by partners in the country like government agencies, private companies including plantation farms, banks, local governments, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and NGOs.

E- Commerce Works Like A Fertilizer In Hotel Industry – Forest Cottages Boss

Economies in developing countries like Uganda are embracing e-commerce now that internet is increasingly becoming available. Internet and ICTs have made trade, communication, traveling easy and punctual.

Hoteliers in Uganda are equally catching up with the trend. Their customers, many of whom come from Europe, United States, Asia have gone digital. Hotels have adopted online booking to make it easy and attractive for international travelers.  

In this spirit, Forest Cottages located at Plot 17/18, Naguru Hill, Bukoto, kampala is using the internet to lure and enable their customers to book for accommodation, conferencing rooms and other facilities provided at the hotel. The hotel is a providing a 15% discount to customers who book online.

In this interview, Dhaval Macchar, the General Manager of Forest Cottages, speaks to this news website elaborating how the internet is softening their operations especially on the side of enabling customers access their services with just a click of a few buttons.  Read on.  

In what way has the internet revolution empowered business growth for hotels?

In last 5 Years Internet has played an extremely dramatic role in business growth of Hotel industry globally and in Uganda.  Almost each & every traveler is engaged in any sort of online search before they go for either official tour or for leisure.

Online booking is emerging as an enabler in the hotel business, how is it boosting rooms’ occupancy and the entire hotel business in the hospitality industry?

As I said, every traveler is engaged in online search before traveling. Actually what happens is, by doing online hotel hunting, travelers get many options to compare with personal requirement, preference & budget.

While searching the right option as per these factors, Online Travel Agencies (OTA) like Jumia Travel, Expedia, booking.com to name a few help a lot. On these OTAs, travelers can see all the facility of the hotels.

Travelers can now check out a hotel’s facilities like different Restaurants, conference rooms and accommodation rooms, recreation and entertainment before booking and traveling. These factors help hotels to boosts the occupancy and revenue.

How do you see the future evolving with e-commerce in Uganda's tourism sector especially for hoteliers?

We can say future evolution of e-commerce is even more positive and going to be more competitive. We are in an era of e-business. People no longer move with lot of cash while traveling. Everything works online including bookings for accommodation, full conferencing facility, car hire, Tours  & Travel up to the Payments. So e- commerce works like a fertilizer in hotel industry.

 

What merits are associated with booking online for customers?

Before finalizing the choice of hotel, majority of guests are looking at several factors. Factors like budget, location, accessibility, security, facility and most important Guest Reviews. For example if the traveler’s budget per night is $80 and his or her official work is in Kololo, the guest will never book a hotel which is located on Entebbe road even if the hotel is under his budget.

Rather he or she will book in a hotel near Kololo with a combination of good reviews and a good budget match. He will get a hotel in Kololo and its surrounding areas like Bukoto. So the criterion of choosing a hotel has lot of factors connected.

What precautions would you point out for customers to consider?

Cyber crime is on high now days, so all the guests should take care when using credit cards online. You need to make sure you are using secure payment gateway while paying online.

From your experience, what informs an online customer to choose your Hotel?

Our online customers do choose us because of positive guest reviews, budget rates, safari style accommodation with comfortable facilities and of course the forest. Forest Cottages is the only place in the heart of Kampala where you can feel like you are somewhere up country. You don’t feel like you are in Kampala.

Our place is like a real tropical forest, lush green full of nature, till date we have spotted more than 25 spices of birds at forest cottages and grows 9 different type of fruits in our forest. There are many more reason to choose us

Why do consumers prefer booking online with travel agency or directly with the hotel?

Many customers do it to make sure their bookings are confirmed without any changes. There are many online travel agencies that are prepaid - where pay in advance, that way you are sure that your booking has been confirmed and will not be cancelled.

At the same time, some guests don’t want to go for prepaid booking and want to enjoy flexibility of duration of stay, mode of payment, free cancellations and the most important best rates. Such guests prefer to go for direct booking with hotel. And returning guests do prefer to go for direct hotel booking.

Jumia Travel Launches Travel Smart To Incentivize Loyal Customers

Africa’s leading online travel agency, Jumia Travel has announced the launch of its loyalty programme aimed at creating more value for its loyal customers by enabling them to save as much as 10 to 20% exclusive discount on hotel plus flight bookings and holiday packages. The programme comes with incentives such as late checkout, free airport pickup, welcoming drink and early check-in. 

The Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Travel, Paul Midy made the disclosure recently through the company’s weekly newsletter. “This stride is part of our efforts to democratize travel in Africa – making travel within Africa easier and cheaper. And for our Travel Smart customers who are our frequent and returning customers used to the Jumia e-commerce ecosystem, there’s no better way for us to help them book the best hotels at the best price. We are constantly on our toes as a business to offer more value in terms of pricing, more hotel & flight options in order to appreciate them”, he said.

Thanks to the Jumia Travel Smart programme, hotels get access to a customer-base of registered and frequent users who are the only ones having access to these special rates, and benefit from increased visibility and marketing on our special campaigns to promote Jumia Travel Smart.

Flight Etiquette: What You Need To Know

Air travel has been around for years now and even though it is not the most used mode of transportation in Uganda, it has slowly picked up. Borders open up and economies boom because people are able to transact from one country to another.

Air travel has contributed to employment and tourism growth in so many countries all over the world. Even though there are many people that use this mode of transportation, very few adhere to the simple obviously unstated rules of air travel. Here are some few you can follow to have a comfortable flight for you and the other travelers.

Boarding

It all starts at home when you are packing, your journey can either be delayed because of this or made uncomfortable. First know what they allow on your flight, from the approved luggage weight to the items allowed on board. Once you board the plan, don’t lurk in the hallway while everyone else is boarding, you will cause traffic.

Carry- On Space

Use the allocated carry on luggage space, do not hog everyone else’s. You are not the only passenger on the flight and everyone is allocated a minimal space. So if your carry-on luggage is too big for that space at least politely ask someone who doesn’t have any to put it in theirs.

Seating

Well if you have flown before, you know that every passenger is allocated a seat. This helps the airline with accountability on how many seats they sold for a certain flight as well as organisation when passengers are boarding. Yet still after some people tend to switch seats which sometimes delays the boarding process. Don’t be the annoying neighbor who keeps reclining their seat without asking if it's OK with the person behind you. Or one who assumes all the armrests are meant for them.

Children

Traveling with the little ones is not as easy as it looks, especially toddlers, but letting them run amok isn't acceptable. Find a way to keep them in check so that you do not inconvenience the other passengers. People will be understanding when you apologise for your children’s behaviour but they will sympathise with you more when they see you trying your best to keep them in line.

Bathroom

There are people who do not know what common courtesy is, this is worse when you are on a long flight and have to use the bathroom. It being a tiny space, it needs to be clean. Do not leave your mess for other passengers to find.

Food

Not everyone will be able to afford plane food since it tends to be more expensive, some airlines allow you to pack snacks especially if the journey is going to be long. Please be mindful, do not pack foods that will smell the whole aisle, it might induce nausea in some passengers.

Conversation

So you are on a flight with your friend, you are catching on stories so as to pass time through the flight. Kindly make sure you are not too loud for people five seats away to be listening in. Some people might not be tell you, some might tell the air hosts to inform you to lower your voices.

It’s also possible that your neighbor might not want to engage in conversation especially if they have their earphones on. Grab a book and keep yourself engaged.

Pets

Maybe not a common thing around Ugandans but more common in the west since most people travel with their pets. Dogs and cats are so adorable, so fluffy and invite loving eyes from the ladies but not everyone is going to be comfortable with them out of their carriers. Keep your pet in the stipulated area not cause friction with other passengers.

Deboarding

Don’t rush out of the plane just because it has landed, wait in line since aeroplane aisle is a narrow space that can only take a few people for awhile. Don’t remove your carryon luggage till the person seated below the space has moved or you might drop stuff on them or ask first. Patience pays in this case.

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

Discover East Africa’s Delicious Street Foods

You have not lived well in Kampala if you have not had to sample some of the delicious street foods offered by vendors around the city. Of course, it is quite obvious that you will not find the street vendors around the upscale neighborhoods such as Kololo, Nakasero, and upper Buziga in Kampala.

Street food in most countries is where local food vendors show their creative side and make sure you get from the busiest stalls because those are the ones with the best food. Here are some of the best street foods from the East African region. 

Ethiopia

One of the oldest civilisations on the continent with a culture that has been well protected from the heavy Western influence for generations, Ethiopia will delight with its cuisines. Through Addis Ababa, walk past all those well organised restaurants and make your way along the market streets. That is where you will find the delicious street foods you are looking for. Make sure you try some of these delights;

  • Ethiopian coffee

You will find a gathering, sharing stories while tasting some of the world’s most delicious coffee. Sit down and join them and give yourself a taste of Ethiopia.

  • Akkras

Crunchy and filled with flavour made from black eyed peas with chilli peppers and onion flavours, Akkras is a definite must try.

  • Injera

Maybe one of the most known Ethiopian food, Injera is a flat bread prepared with sourdough and teff; best enjoyed while still hot. 

Tanzania

Leading the holiday destination list in East Africa means you have a lot to serve, from friendly people to delicious foods. The food is mostly hot, spicy, and filled with flavours that give you a fusion of Asia/ Arab and Africa. Tanzania will definitely steal your heart, so what foods will make you stroll the streets of Arusha, Dar, and Zanzibar?

  • Chips Mayai

You have to try this mixture of eggs and potato fries that are found during the night and day street food markets.

  • Kahawa na Kashata

Meaning coffee and candy, this is one of the most traditional coastal street foods in East Africa. The coffee is usually black with a hint of ginger, if you want it a little spicy.

  • Grilled Fish

All the delicious bounties of the Indian ocean and lake ranging from tilapia, to crab or lobster on a stick and of course octopus. The delicious smells will not let you pass these delicious treats.

  • Supu Ya Pweza

This is a delicious and steaming dish of octopus soup that will refresh you after a night around town. 

Kenya

Nairobi is the leading economy in East africa and with some of the best eateries in the region. But the best foods are found on the streets of the city; away from the CBD is where life begins in the evening.

  • Mshikaki

This is a kebab like meat on a stick that is grilled over a charcoal stove, the meat can be mixed with onions and green pepper merging delicious flavors.

  • Viazi Karai

Coated in light mixtures of flour and spices, this deep fried dish of irish potatoes is quite addictive.

  • Mayai Boiro

Basically a boiled egg with kachumbari, which is a common late night street food in Nairobi. Maiyai boiro can be eaten with hot sauce. 

Uganda

The pearl of Africa, her beauty is wild and still hard to tame and her people are warm with cultures that bring history alive. Kampala has one of the most lively street life in the region, it goes up to the wee hours of the morning depending on what neighborhood you find yourself in.

  • Rolex

The king of Uganda street food is a chapati with eggs, onions and tomatoes rolled in side. The celebrity street food has made its way to the international media scene with CNN, BBC to mention but a few. You can find the rolex on the streets across Uganda.

  • TV Chicken

No, it is not chicken in a television set but one that is cooked in a rotisserie. The best places to get this is in Wandegeya market. There is even a section dedicated to the customers to sit and enjoy.

  • Fritters

Not known as fritters but more like an array of deep fried, sweet potatoes, cassava, irish potatoes, samosas and mandazi. 

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

Say “I DO” From These Beautiful Locations Around Uganda

It’s not clear who came up with the idea that you have to get married only in a church. You can actually plan ahead by applying for the certificate earlier on so that on the d-day everything legal is sorted out.

So after opting out of doing your ceremony in church, you will need beautiful locations where your nuptials can be finalised from.

Some of the things to put into consideration for your wedding location are:

  • Affordability- Make sure you do not go beyond your stipulated budget just to stand out.
  • Accessibility- Can your guests access the location you have chosen? If it's an island, charter a ferry for them.
  • Is it worth it? Or you just want to spend money just because everyone did the same.
  • Does it suit your wedding needs?
  • The most important thing to consider is the certificate because without it then your marriage is not legal.

Here are some of the locations around Uganda, we thought you should add to your itinerary for your wedding. 

Garden Weddings

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Maybe one of the most beautiful natural resources near Kampala, the gardens are a national conservation site for research managed by the National Agriculture Research Authority. They are home to different prominent tree species, birds, and monkeys. The property is quite expansive and stretches to the shores of Lake Victoria. 

Reception Venues

Instead of booking two locations at once, you can fully utilise any good reception venue as one for your wedding. Have the church section on one side and the reception on another. And since most locations are usually expansive gardens you will have enough space. 

Island Weddings

Bulago Island

One island with two beautiful properties that will keep your guests happy for your “getaway nuptials.” One Minute South Villa is a picturesque property with a personal touch to it where you can host your guests and stay by the beach. Whereas Pineapple Bay has a “hotel on an island” setting with cottages sprawled all over the property, it is a sight to behold and worth the boat ride from the mainland. 

Ssese Islands

You cannot go wrong with the Ssese islands; choose one of the many islands and stand out with your island wedding. They will give a refreshing feel to your ceremony, you can do it at the beach or move it to one of the forests. 

Along The River Nile

The Nile almost cuts Uganda into half, meaning you have many spots along its stretched banks to choose a destination. You can do it at the rocks at the Murchisons or maybe in Jinja at one of the many resorts on the Nile. This gives you a unique feel to your wedding. 

Adrenaline Vows

High Up A Peak

Thrill seekers will always look for a chance to do something amazing, of course you do not have to endanger your guests by putting your wedding on a cliff. But you can choose one of the many lower peaks of an accessible high rise with the permission of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and make a memorable wedding. 

National Park

Yes, these are not just for touring and hiding from wild animals but for special occasions too. So why not make a wedding in the wild? Most of the lodges in National Parks have wonderful views that give off a rustic vibe, use it to your benefit and make a rustic wedding. 

Home Wedding

Why spend all that money hiring out a venue when you have a big property to host guests? You will need a catering service and decorators to make the place glamorous then invite guests. If you do not have a big parking, that is what good neighbors and public spaces like fields, church/ mosque lots are for. Ask for permission and hire a security officer from the local police office. 

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

 

 

Sheraton Kampala Hotel Hires New Executive Chef

Sheraton Kampala Hotel last week announced that Vinz Karlsen has joined the team as the new Executive Chef. He joins with extensive experience, having worked in some top luxury hotels brands like Le Meridien, Intercontinental Hotel groups, Scandic Hotel Eremitage and many others, and has over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, serving more than half of those as an executive chef.

His exposure to numerous cultures and Countries has enabled him to learn Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, French and English which are internationally recognized languages. Chef Karlsen’s experience spans across both managerial and kitchen duties. He acknowledges, however, that his new role presents unique challenges, most importantly is to ensure consistent quality of food from the kitchen. 

Commenting on his new role, Mr. Karlsen said; “I am very grateful to Sheraton Kampala Hotel for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent, experience and also to learn from this new amazing culture. I take up this responsibility with gratitude and a lot of enthusiasm to work with the existing team as we continue to raise the standards and quality of the hotel. I already feel positive energy from the team.” 

Sheraton Kampala Hotel continuously strengthens its position in the hospitality industry and more specifically in the Hotel business by hiring very talented personnel , both local and international. Vinz comes with a lot of experience having worked in different countries in Europe and Asia. 

“We welcome Mr. Vinz Karlsen to Sheraton family and we wish him all the best. We hired Vinz because we believe he adds a lot of value to our team not only because of his expertise but also his appealing personality which we strongly trust it will be resourceful to the team and the hotel. As a hotel we dedicated to give our customers the best service and we believe quality human resource is a contributor to achieving this and thus the reason we have hired people like Mr. Vinz Karlsen,” remarked Mr. Jean Philippe Bittencourt, the hotel’s General Manager. 

Chef Vinz Karlsen inherits a remarkable standard set by the outgoing Chef Dhanushka Kumara who truly revolutionized the food quality at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. Sheraton Kampala is now one of the most renowned hotels in Uganda with a good variety of different cuisines from around the world.

Climate Changing Uganda’s Tourism Potential

By Boaz Opio

Way back in 2012, Uganda was ranked the number one tourist destination by Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world. This is because the small land locked country has a tropical climate, with normal temperatures ranging from 21-25°C (70- 77°F), supporting ‘flourishing’ fauna and flora, stunning vistas of snowcapped mountains on the summits of Elgon and Rwenzori attracting visitors all year round. But all these natural treasures have started to wane in the face of increasing global average temperatures.

So far this year’s combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for February 2017 was 0.98°C (1.76°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.9°F)—the second highest for February in the 138-year period of record. While the latest news from UNMA - Uganda National Meteorological Authority already shows abnormal average temperature rise.

“During the period 21st-31st March 2017, the country experienced warm to hot conditions with average maximum temperatures ranging from 24.50C to 33.80C. These average maximum temperatures were recorded at Kabale and Wadelai weather stations respectively. Overall, the highest of the observed daily maximum temperatures of 36.90C occurred at Wadelai weather station,” reads a statement at the weather-overlooking parastatal.

The above statement is not only a statement but means a change in the environment, and the ecosystem, impacting on the decisions of tourist visiting the country. This in turn leads to a decline in the performance of Tourism sector which in fact Uganda is experiencing since 2012.

Uganda Tourism Board, an organisation charged with responsibility to oversee the performance of the once lucrative sector notices that tourism “could perform better” if the natural environment of Uganda is preserved—if rainforests reduce lumbering down for burning charcoal and obtaining firewood; if the renewable energy options such as solar energy, wind energy and biogas potentials are fully exploited.

According to a report published by Daily Monitor in Jan 13, 2016, Uganda Wild Life Authority blamed the declining Tourism in Uganda to negative publicity. This very negative publicity they are talking about comes as a result of facts in the ground.

The report reveals that UWA (Uganda Wild-life Authority) collected revenue of Shs42.6b, a decline of 24 per cent from Shs56b in 2013/14. As a result, UWA posted a deficit of Shs13b compared to the surplus of Shs4b reported in 2013/14.

“Management explained that in the financial year 2014-2015 there was a drop in the number of tourists visiting the protected areas from approximately 220,005 to 196,768 visitors (11% decrease) especially due to factors beyond management’s control and negative publicity,” the report reads.

Isn’t “negative publicity” rather a wrong narrative of the strong relationship climate has with tourism? Would the right narrative not rather be “Climate is Changing Uganda’s Tourism Potential?”

In a newspaper article titled “What is Killing Uganda’s Tourism?” published by Daily Monitor, a government owned newspaper, the Tourism Board spokesperson Vincent Mugaba, argued that Uganda is not the only country facing declining tourist numbers. “Our immediate neighbours, who actually spend a lot on marketing their countries, have been equally affected to.”

During the 45th Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 5 to 8th February 2017, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the state of the global climate system and its implications on the seasonal rainfall over the East African region. It was observed that the major physical conditions likely to influence the weather conditions over Uganda and the rest of the East African region for the forecast period of March to May 2017.

So, what is truly killing Uganda’s tourism sector? Rising Global Temperatures due to immense carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by day and night. This means there is no magic bullet to restoring Uganda’s dwindling attraction except committed efforts that cut the amount of carbon we emit. This will also preserve tropical forests.

Promoting alternative renewable energy solutions will reduce greenhouse gas emission by 22 percent as Uganda already pledged in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to UNFCCC. These efforts will increase the country’s tourism potential by restoring lasting beauty in a cooler planet where global temperatures are constrained below the 1.5-degree benchmark agreed in Paris Climate agreement.

 

 

Uganda’s Agriculture Can’t Thrive Beyond 1.5-Degree Global Warming

On Dec.12, 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change approved the Paris Agreement committing 195 nations of the world to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” The pact commits the world to adopt nationally determined policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions in accord with those goals.

The little landlocked, agricultural nation Uganda submitted it’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions in late November 2015, succinctly indicating a 22% carbon cut by 2030, acknowledging the negative impacts global warming has on her economy severely in agricultural sector.

Dominated by small holder farmers of upto 80% and subsistence agriculture of 70% of farmers unable to access modern farming methods such as modern irrigation schemes, the country’s agricultural sector is, more than any other, the most sensitive to the current threats of rising global average temperatures that has alarmed to surpass the benchmark of 1.5-degree Celsius over time.

The 2°C goal set by Paris delegates represents a temperature increase from a pre-industrial baseline that scientists believe will maintain the relatively stable climate conditions that humans and other species have adapted to over the previous 12,000 years. If this temperature range surpassed, dangerous tipping point would have been crossed.

The tipping point represent dire consequences with changing face of natural order of the planet, even worse in the agricultural performance a poor country.

The signs of this dangerous tipping point are already visible in infesting crop diseases, seasonal animal deaths, water shortages for cattle and hindrance of farming activities because of too dry grounds to cultivate. Uganda has been listed among the countries affected by the mass animal deaths for 2017.

Bird flu is ravaging poultry husbandry.  Since January 02, signs of bird flu were detected in Uganda where fishermen reported “mass death of wild birds” on the shores of Lake Victoria, near Entebbe, which lies near the capital Kampala.

The epidemic has also evaporated to neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi. The director in charge of animal health in the Burundian ministry of agriculture and livestock, Mr. Nsanganiyumwami Déogratias says they are aware of the presence of the disease in East African Community since Monday 16th January 2017. “We held a meeting with the minister and competent experts to impose measures to protect people against any contamination”, he says. 

While the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has studied that between 5000 and 7000 heads of cattle have died due to lack of water in the Karamoja and Turkana regions pastoralists regions of East Africa combined.

Since October 2016, livestock in Isingiro and Kiruhura districts are dying due to starvation following prolonged drought in the area. The two neighbouring districts have traditionally been hit by drought, but Dr Bruhan Kasozi, the Isingiro veterinary officer, says the scarcity of water and pasture he has witnessed was the worst in the 17 years he has worked in the area.

The effect of a warming planet will deeply penetrate sub-Saharan Africa because this region is over dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone, declares Uganda’s government. But it’s also not shy to say this sector dependent on weather and we know weather on climate.

This agriculture-weather-climate bond “cannot be broken easily,” cries Hon. Lawrence Songa, the head of climate change department at the Uganda’s ministry of Water and Environment.

“It can only be broken through two efforts,” he says in a slightly altered statement. “One: by ensuring that the global temperature increase is kept at bay, and two: by mechanizing agriculture to stop over dependence on the weather.

Truly if agriculture and weather is joined at the hip, then Uganda’s development prospect heavily leans on the mercy of climate. Any slight increase of global temperatures doesn’t only disorganise the biosphere but ruins 85% of the population who directly derive their livelihood in crop and or animal rearing.

The Uganda’s worshiped development agenda termed “Vision 2040” clarifies the chief development goal as “a Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a commercialised farming.” Yet the current picture paints a climate-change-stricken sector. Agriculture is on the decline due.

According to Paris Agreement, “keeping global average temperatures to 2.0-degree Celsius will minimize some of the worst impacts of climate change: drought, heat waves, heavy rain and flooding, and sea level rise. Limiting the global surface temperature increase to 1.5°C would lessen these impacts even further.”

Uganda is Africa’s leading exporter and second biggest producer of coffee after Ethiopia due to its alluvial fertile soils and cool “good” climate for coffee production. But the changes in average daily temperatures are hindering these treasures. In 2016, 4.8 million bags were produced which was noticed as an increase due to mere increase of acreage of coffee plantations. 

With over 70% of its foreign exchange from coffee exports, any future tampering with weather and climate will adversely affect the economy.

Analysis of data from Uganda Coffee Development Center already shows that coffee exports have declined in “real terms” since 1998. This drop in crop performance Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) blames on coffee wilt that mainly affects the native, lowland robusta-heat sensitive-variety.

Yet the country is not free from coffee berry disease that entered from its eastern neighbour Kenya as early as the 1920s. Since 1993, it has destroyed over 12 million plants. Uganda also grows arabica coffee, which is grown in the highlands. So far, this has remained unaffected by the disease.

The major reason for the infestation of this coffee disease is because it thrives under high temperatures of between 26 to 40-degree Celsius, a now characteristic temperature of Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Ugandan Metrological Department (UMD).

1.5 and 2°C are not hard and fast limits beyond which disaster is imminent, but they are now the milestones by which the world measures all progress toward slowing global warming.

February 2016 exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C.

It is thus irrefutable that the only hope for Uganda’s Agricultural sector is if the global average temperature is kept below the 1.5-degrree Celsius mark. Continuing to firefight with sweltering drudgery farming responsibilities without digging the problems from the roots is a stark chasing the rainbow.

Keeping at 1.5-degree require not one action or sets of action from one big polluter like China, or US but a marriage of actions that curb carbon emissions from all over the world, under the auspices of the 1.5-degree UNFCCC Paris pact we already entered.

 

 

By Boaz Opio

   

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