Karimojong abandon rustling for farming
Karamoja sub-region in the northeastern Uganda has fertile soils, which provide opportunity for crop farming. However, the land has long been underutilized due to the pastoral practices.
Over the years, cattle raids between the Ugandan Karimojong, Kenyan Turkana, and Toposa of Southern Sudan, has led to the loss of livestock and human life. A month-long survey by Turkana Guardian across the region shows the cattle owned by one household have reduced from between 1,000 and 2,000 heads, to as few as 20 heads. The Karimojong have now turned to food production as alternative means of survival.
“We hope to cope with life through farming. This activity was out of our minds when we had livestock,” said Peter
Teko, a resident of Panyangara Village in Kotido district. Betty Nachap, a resident of Katanga Village in Nadunget Sub-county, Moroto district said her family adopted crop farming after losing cattle to rustlers. The District Agriculture Officer Nakapiripirit, Mario Tengei said although farming is practiced on a small-scale, more families are now embracing it. “Our people used to do farming but it was not real farming because most of their time was spent looking after cows,” he said. He added that with the reduction in the number of cattle per household, people “are practicing farming seriously.” “When you move around, every family has not less than four acres of land planted with crops. This was not there before,” he said.
Tengei believes if the weather pattern favours the region in the next three years; the region will join the rest of the country in food production. Karamoja is now becoming a foodbasket supplying other regions.
BY STEVEN ARIONG KARAMOJA, UGANDA
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