HOIMA DISTRICT :
The group with the youngest journalists is Hoima and only two girls. At least half of the 24 participants are students from Kitara Institute of Commerce and Media Studies in Hoima. Participants are under the mid-western journalists Association or Bunyoro region Association. Participants come from Bulisa, Kibaale, Hoima, Masindi and Kiboga.
The conference was opened by Mr. Dembe Kawagga Ssetumba the secretary for production and marketing Hoima Town Council on behalf of the mayor. He said the major environment challenges in Hoima include Streams drying up and water sources like Lake Albert having low water levels.
This is the only station where the environment officer Jocelyn Nyangoma refused to come and speak to journalists because ‘we may be discussing issues against government.”
She asked that the district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) first give her permission to come and talk to the journalists. Even if the CAO did allow she did not show up.
So the participants got into two groups and came up with the major environment challenges in Hoima as well as the effects to these problems.
This group although with many students was quite argumentative and there were 3-5 participants that were lively and knowledgeable. One student asked me ‘Madam how do you define climate change for exams” In other wards what would he write in an exam if the asked him what is Climate change?
“The Ozone layer s being depleted. When I walk I use my cap because the sun rays hit my head and am becoming more stupid,” Jeff on the effect of climate change.
This group had general fears probably a reflection from the bigger community but they thought that when the oil starts flowing from Kaiso-Tonya the environment is going to be affected and they would suffer.
These are genuine concerns but I could only encourage them to do the right thing- file your stories and we see what impact they will make especially on preservation of the environment.
As usual I probed about adaptation on Climate change and these are the answers I received:
-Traditional activities have been changed for most of the tribes. The pastoralists are slowly becoming cultivators too because of food insecurity.
-Many farmers are growing tobacco and ignoring other food, they assume that the money they get from tobacco will be used to buy food but the food prices are higher and cannot make up for the food not grown.
-Grasshoppers are abandoning some habitats like Masaka and they now fall in Hoima in two seasons may-June, November- December. Actually the grasshoppers a delicacy for most of the people in Buganda region have abandoned their traditional areas in Masaka and Mubende. Now in one year we have two seasons for the harvest and they are in big. The Ngobi Hill used to have them but not anymore. I think its because of technology we have the powerful lights that attract them to Hoima. All grasshopper harvesters have shifted from Masaka to Bunyoro region.
-Mangoes are no longer growing very well. They are drying up. When it rains heavily they do not produce fruit because they have many leaves.
-Cattle keepers the Bahima have started staying in one place and have started growing cassava. The pastoralists are giving up their activity and producing their food to become both pastrolism and cultivators.
Most of the officials in Hoima do not go on record. Most of them want you to first go to the CAO and get permission from him.
The case study : Molasses distillation in Bulisa and its cause on the environment.
I left Hoima by Taxi on Saturday 25th July.