Agriculture

FEATURE: Sebei Region Vulnerable to Adverse Climate Change

A young boy lets-go a polythene paper down the cliff, fast blowing winds as a result of a drought has hit Sebei (Photo: David Oduut)

By David Oduut 

The communities of Sebei have highlighted the need to step up environmental conservation as a way of mitigating the horrifying climate change hitting the region.

Sebei region has endured a rear dry spell since June which local farmers have acknowledged is as a result of degrading environment.

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Sebei region has been known for warm and temperate climate of average temperature of 18.5 °C with significant rainfall of about 1576 mm falling throughout the year.

However, Mawai Chemangei, the Kapchorwa District Natural Resources Officer noted a great change in the climate of the area.

He said the region has endured three months of dry spell with baking temperatures.

This he said has dried some water sources in the district causing lack of water in some communities.

Kween district Vice LC 5 Chairman, Steven Chepkurkat, said soils in the region have also gotten depleted as a result of poor environment management and prolonged droughts.

“We used to get at least 40 bags of maize in an acre which is not the case now days,” Chepkurkat lamented.

He said there is need for Sebei region to devise means of checking population growth to avert pressure on the available land.

“Tree species like Elgon tick and Malewa are disappearing because people are now plunging forests in the region. This is what has attracted global warming,” the LC5 said.

On Thursday during an advocacy meeting organized by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for Kapchorwa and Kween districts held at Kiprotich Sports ground in Kapchorwa district, area Resident District Commissioner, Jane Francis Kuka advised communities in Sebei to commit themselves to planting trees and protecting natural resources as a means of restoring the environment.

“Planting trees and protecting river banks and river catchment areas can help the environment regain its natural course hence mitigating climate change,” Kuka said.

The RDC urged all sectors in Elgon region to adopt and recognize the value of healthy intact ecosystems.

She said sectors such as forestry, wetlands, tourism, agriculture, energy, infrastructure development all need to apply an ecosystem based approach to consult with other sectors in assessing risks posed by climate change and finding adaptation solutions.

Climate change

“It is widely appreciated that climate change is a cross cutting issue that requires working together to minimize the risks it presents,” RDC Kuka emphasized.

Micheal Nandala, the chief Administrative Officer Kween district, said much as government and development partners have put avenues to try mitigate climate change, community participation is paramount in the implementation.

“Communities need to take the knowledge being given into practice and should own environmental projects,” Nandala said.

He hinted on the need for all aspiring political candidates to spread the gospel of environmental protection.

“In the near future, we shall need all aspiring politicians to plant at least 100 trees. It is from there that we shall appreciate their commitment to protecting the environment,” Nandala joked.

Currently, IUCN is implementing Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) project in the region aimed at strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity of the communities to the adverse effects of climate change – in this case drought.

Vulnerability

Richard Kababusa Chemonges of IUCN said a vulnerability Impact assessment carried out in the sub counties of Ngenge, Sangala, Benet and Kapsonga indicate that there is emerging environmental and natural resources management threats such as over exploitation of natural resources.

He observed that there has been a gap in community sensitization on the dangers of deforestation and swamp reclamation.

“We have reached out to communities through debates and MDD competitions to help pass generational knowledge of environmental conservation,” he said.

Kababusa said they are directly supporting 98 communities and training them on sustainable agriculture, integrated water resource management and sustainable forest management; interventions that use nature to reduce vulnerability to climate change.

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