Uganda's Cocoa Farmers Opt for Irrigation as Dry Spell Persists

Moving away from the sweetness of the chocolate off the shelves at a grocery store, cocoa farmers in Uganda are facing the wrath of a long dry spell that is scorching their crops.

As the rains take time to come, farmers in the central district of Kayunga have opted to irrigate their plantations to avoid having low yields from the crop they call their 'cash cow'. Sounds of fuel powered water pumps engulf villages as farmers irrigate their gardens. They collect water from a nearby swamp on pickup trucks loaded with tanks.

Henry Lwanga, a cocoa farmer in Kasawo, central Uganda told Xinhua in a recent interview that he has lost over 15 percent of his newly planted cocoa trees due to the long dry spell. He also added that the already grown trees are also not doing well as they have few pods compared to the times when there was a lot of rain.

"Due to this climatic changes, we used to expect rains in March, April, May up to June. And in September, October and part of November but now rain has delayed. Since September the drought has extended into January, we don't know when rain is coming," Lwanga said.

Rusty Clark


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