An assessment of the effects of rainfall variability on cattle farmers in Nakasongola district
Orach, Glen Noel
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Rainfall variability is increasingly causing new challenges for pastoralists’ livelihoods in semi-arid and arid lands. These challenges are hindering pastoralists’ adaptation strategies as well as policy-makers in adjusting policies to the changing rainfall conditions. There is therefore need to develop climate-resilient livelihoods especially at the local levels of society. Using both the quantitative and qualitative approaches, this study examined the rainfall variability effects on cattle farmers in Lwampanga and Zengebe parishes of Lwampanga sub county in Nakasongola district in central Uganda. The specific objectives were: (1) To identify the rainfall trends in Nakasongola district between 2010-2021. (2) To assess the farmers’ perceptions on the rainfall variability effects. (3) To examine the adaptation options used by cattle farmers in response to effects of rainfall variability. Results showed a generally decreasing annual rainfall trend from 2010-2021. For the MAM seasonal rainfall, a stable and slightly decreasing rainfall trend was noted and a rapid declining trend for the SOND season. Perceived rainfall variability effects across Zengebe and Lwampanga parishes included economic stress, cattle starvation and death, increasing food insecurity and reduced fodder and grass. Adaptation options included rotational grazing, altering mobility patterns, mixed crop and livestock production and shifting livelihood strategies The study recommends enhanced knowledge of climate change and extension of climate smart agricultural resources to the people to enhance their resilience.