Famine looms as cows destroy food crops in villages neighbouring oil refinery land in Hoima

Cows without a keeper a in a residential area t Kabaale Village in Kabaale Sub-county, Hoima District at around 7: 30pm. (Image: File)

Residents of Kabaale Sub-county in Hoima District are anxious about food security after uncontrolled cows continue crossing from the oil refinery land to browse on food crops in neighbouring areas.

The Kabaale Sub-county Chairman, Mr Hassan Kugonza, said that his office is awash with complaints from residents of Katooke and Kabaale among other villages adjacent to oil refinery land that the uncontrolled cows are massively browsing especially on their cassava and sweet potato crops; .

He said such a destruction is positioning the residents in a state of being hit by unparalleled famine.

During a community dialogue organised by Hoima Caritas Development Organisation (HOCADEO), the chairman urged security agents in the district to address the encumbrance being caused by the unbothered herders resulting in massive crop destruction in the area before it goes out of proportion.

The chairman called upon the District Police Commander, the District Internal Security Officer and the Resident District Commissioner to go to the affected village so they can assess the magnitude of the destruction and the problems that will arise if no action is taken.

“Unfortunately, when we gave the government some land for the construction of an oil refinery, the authorities allowed people to graze their animals from it after the government delayed developing it. That wouldn’t be any trouble to us. But those cows cross from the refinery land to the neighbouring farm areas and browse on their cassava and sweet potato crops. At the moment, there is hardly any cassava and sweet potatoes in Kabaale,” he said.

“I request the district security committee headed by the RDC involving the DPC and DISO to come to Kabaale to ensure that the owners of those cows control them so they don’t continue destroying food crops of communities neighbouring the oil refinery land,” he continued.

Audio: Kugonza on destructive cows (Runyoro/Rutooro)

When contacted for a comment, the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Michael Kyakashari, said that grazing animals in the refinery land is illegal ordering that owners must drive their animals from the area without further ado.

He said the RDC’s office will liaise with the police in charge of guarding the oil refinery land to ensure that there is no more grazing domestic animals from it.

Mr Kyakashari vowed that his office will follow up the matter until the animals are driven out of the land to guard the residents against being hit by famine due to the animals destroying food crops.

“The refinery land should be out of the grazing area. Those grazing their cows there are doing it illegally. That calls for immediate action. There are police officers guarding that oil refinery land and they are the ones who are supposed to be alert. So, I am going to call them and the LC 3 chairman to tell us the exact village that is affected since the refinery land is very big,” he said.

Adding: “Grazing from that land is strictly forbidden and we are going to fight it immediately. We can’t allow people to be hit by famine because of the cows browsing on their food crops.”

Audio: Kyakashari on destructive cows (Blend of English & Runyankole/Rukiga)

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