Rice farmers in Kibuku District have defied a government directive to vacate Limoto Wetland.
They claim that they do not have enough land for the activity except the available wetland.
A farmer who didn’t reveal his name said following the prevailing situation of COVID-19 they were forced to go and grow rice to help their families and to donate some to the government to be distributed to other starving Ugandans.
When contacted, David Okurut the environment officer Kibuku, attributed the defiance of farmers to political influence where some area politicians are encouraging locals to grow rice.
He revealed that the district has received mark stones from the ministry and demarcations will resume soon.
The RDC Kibuku Ms. Juliet Najjuma Ssenkoole acknowledged that most of the wetlands like Limoto and Natoto have been destroyed.
She said they are working together with his Pallisa counterpart, and National Environment Management Authority and together with the police, they will begin operation to crack the defiant farmers.
She said massive sensitization of farmers has been conducted but they are adamant.
Najjuma noted that NEMA Act prohibits any form of) demolishing wetland and as ‘NRM, not even the prevailing politics will deter us.’
“I know this is political time, but as NRM why would one need votes from people who do the contrary?” she posed.
Limoto wetland is shared by Kibuku and Pallisa districts in the North Bukedi region and it’s one of the wetlands which is seasonally saturated with water.
It stretches to the five sub-counties of Kasasira, Kadama, Kibuku, Buseta, and Kabweri.
President Museveni on the 19th of December 2019, toured and commissioned the Limoto wetland Wise use demonstration site in Puti Puti sub-county Pallisa district.
The President later while addressing a mammoth rally at Kalaki primary school ground in Pallisa town council Pallisa district, was happy to note that 70 hectares of land that had been previously degraded mainly by human activity had been restored.
He said people can earn 120, million shillings from one acre of land unlike the 700,000 they would earn from rice growing.
Mr. Museveni then directed farmers and locals who had invaded the wetland to vacate saying the government will introduce other sustainable livelihood projects for the affected farmers to boost their income.