Demography and land area
Nabuin ZARDI is one of the nine (9) Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). Its coverage extends over eight districts in the Teso sub region and seven in the Karamoja sub region. The districts in the Teso sub region include Amuria, Bukedea, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kumi, Ngora, Serere, and Soroti. In the Karamoja sub region the districts are: Abim, Amudat, Kabong, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripririt, and Napak. The region falls in three agro-ecological zones (AEZ), that is; North-eastern Dry Lands, North-eastern Savannah Grasslands and Kyoga Plains with a total land area of 42,322 km2 of which 27,599 km2 and 14,723 km2 is for Karamoja and Teso, respectively. Its total population is 2,748,219; with the Teso sub-region having 1,759,790 persons and the Karamoja sub region with 988,426 persons (UBOS, 2015).
The region is classified into three livelihood zones linked to aridity and dependence on livestock, that is; pastoral, Agro-pastoral and agricultural zones. Livestock production is the main economic activity for the pastoral zone and livestock supplemented by rudimentary farming is the main economic activity in the Agro-pastoral zone, while crop farming is for the agricultural zone. Karamoja and Teso sub regions have varying climatic conditions with Karamoja being the driest in the country and referred to as semi-arid. The average annual rainfall ranges between 500 mm and 800 mm (along Kenya-Sudan borders) and 700 – 1000 mm for the relatively wetter areas.
The major crops grown are: sorghum, maize, cassava, sunflower, sesame, millet, beans and groundnuts while the livestock include: Zebu cattle, goats, sheep and local poultry. There is a Game Park (Kidepo) with ostriches, giraffes, kobs, and antelopes. Fishing especially from lakes Kyoga, Bisina, Opeta and Awoja is another major economic activity and a source of livelihood for the people in the two sub regions. Besides, there is a lot of artisan mining of gold and marble.
The area is characterized by several land degradation challenges which include: vegetation loss due to tree cutting and bush burning; soil erosion; overgrazing; and limited water for both domestic, crops and livestock due to prolonged droughts. The Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project being jointly implemented under the Agricultural Technology and Agri-business Advisory Services (ATAAS) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is helping to reverse the trends of land degradation in the two sub regions. Other SLM partners and collaborators include: World Bank, district local governments, government ministries (e.g. Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Ministry of Water and Environment, and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives).
The SLM challenges not withstanding, several opportunities abound in the region including mineral resources and underground water resources. There are also several NGOs operating in the region especially in the Karamoja sub region.
To reverse the trends of land degradation, it is imperative that local authorities enforce by-laws to curb practices such as bush burning. It is also of necessity to promote water harvesting during wet periods, establishment of soil and water conservation in the erosion hotspots and live fencing of homesteads (Manyattas) to reduce on tree cutting.Contacts:
1. David Oruka, SLM Specialist , MAAIF/Nabuin ZARDI
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com; Mobile: +256782329973
2. Dr. Paul Okullo, Director of Research, Nabuin ZARDI
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Mobile: +256772368667