Drought Bulletin summary for the Month of April 2011
April picked on from a break in the rains that started off in mid-march. Nevertheless, the month was characterized by extensive agricultural activity with most of the households start off to planting their crop especially in the dry belts. Households that planted early at the onset of rains in March have started weeding, which is a normal period for this activity to take place. Field results indicate that maize is so far the most planted crop at 33% followed by sorghum and beans at 27% and 16% respectively. Observations of the crop condition revealed 73% good, 18% Fair and 9% poor crop condition. The Fair and poor crops conditions are attributed to a period of rain break that was experienced between the end of March and mid-April. Therefore crops planted early in the season were deprived of enough water for proper growth. Some of the households have replanted their gardens. This situation is however expected to improve with the onset of proper rains.
The seasonal weather forecast from the Department of Meteorology plans that the rain will stop late June and will be normal to below normal average until then.
There was also an improvement in the body condition of livestock following the availability of water and pastures for the animals; this is proved by the marked reduction in the time spent to access grazing fields. Disease incidence has also been kept under control especially in Nakapiripirit (except in Amudat where Foot and mouth disease has still remained a challenge). This condition also explains the marked reduction (by 22%) in the mortality rate of calves. This positive trend is expected to continue during May and June. However, cases of mortality amongst the swine were registered in Nakapiripirit. The cause has not been clearly established. However, preliminary results from the department of veterinary suspect poisoning by a wild plant.