The Acholi Cultural leader, Rwot David Onen-Acana II, has called upon his subjects not to abandon traditional crops which resist draughts in favor of fast maturing crops which cannot resist bad weather as a strategy to avert looming famine. The Acholi is one of the Lwo (Luo) ethnic groups who occupy part of Northern Uganda and South Sudan.
The Acholi who practice mixed farming by keeping animals like cattle, goats and sheep alongside subsistence farming, has been hit by poor harvest this year. Famine is imminent as most people tend to sell off the little food crops harvested due to biting poverty so as to buy other necessities.
“People need to plant those traditional crops which our ancestors used to plant, which can resist draughts. Do we have such seeds today, which can resist draught even when rain fails to come in time? In the end we end up with famine in the home. Acholi used to have crops which they would plant when there is famine in the home. Where are such seeds today?” He said.
He made the remarks on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 from his palace in Gulu town to a group of his subjects who were led by MEGA FM, a local radio station manager, Ms. Irene Atek, during a courtesy call. The subjects presented him with gifts like goats for his Christmas.
Rwot Acana decried the practice of parents who don’t want their children to eat Acholi traditional foods, yet the foods are very good for balancing diet for a healthy body.
“How do we restore the pride of eating our good food to our children who have refused to eat such good foods, to the children who has become like refugees who do not value our food?” He said.
He accused local government officials of destroying the environment in Acholi by giving licenses to charcoal burners who come from Kampala and encroach on our woodlands and forests.
“Burning and ferrying charcoal to Kampala must be stopped in Acholi. It is destroying the environment. If left on our own, we cannot even burn charcoal enough to fill one lorry load. We need to sit down as a community and solve this burning issue”. He said.
Rwot Acana revealed that he wrote two letters to government over land grabbed in Apaa in Amuru district and given to Adjumani district and the boundary dispute in Aswa Ranch in Pader district but his letters were ignored by government.
“This was the time for Acholi to unite and come together to speak with one voice over our land. This attitude of not caring for what is happening has enabled others to question themselves that if the letters of their leader are ignored: then who can manage them (land grabbers)?”
Rwot Acana appealed to youths to stop unnecessary land wrangles and selling it off to foreigners for easy life. He appealed to them to work hard by tilling the land instead of depending on motorcycle ridding as a business.
“There is rampant sale of land today, yet in the past selling off land is the last thing that one would do. We have become lazy people. We do not want to sweat while working. This has led to the many cases of land wrangles in the region”. He said.