Lyantonde. Cattle keepers in Lyantonde District have deserted their homes in search of water and pasture for their animals.
The persistent dry spell has forced several of them to trek to neigbouring districts of Rakai and Kiruhura on the shores of Lake Kacheera, a tributary of Lake Victoria to get water and pasture for their animals.
Like many other districts in the cattle corridor, Lyantonde has been battered by long dry spells which have depleted water sources and pastures. Herders are in Kashagama, Lyakajura, Kinuuka and Mpumudde sub-counties are the most affected.
Mr Kezekia Mwesigwa, the Kashagama Sub-county chairperson said most pastoralists decided to relocate after water sources in the area dried up and many of their animals started dying.
“Even though Kiruhura and Rakai districts also face the same problem, they are near Lake Kacheera where they can get water,” he said.
Mr Sezi Kihembo, one of the affected pastoralists from Kashagama Sub-county said: “My brother has accommodated me for two weeks, but the water source has also dried up. I have lost six cows and I am worried more might die if we don’t get rain soon,” he said.
Mr Fred Muhangi, the Lyantonde District chairperson said both farmers and herders have been badly hit by the dry spells and encouraged people to plant trees to avert the problem.
He expressed fear that such movements by herders may lead to the spread of diseases such as foot and mouth disease. “We pray God gives us rain in the coming few days,” he said.
Statistics show that half of the population in Lyantonde District are cattle keepers who entirely depend on seasonal rains to feed their animals. In most parts of the district, residents walk long distances in search of water and others stand in long queues at the few boreholes in the area in search of water. According to Uganda National Meteorological Authority latest forecast report, the dry spells, which have battered most parts of central region since December are likely to end early next month when seasonal rains are expected to start.