Busia District was originally part of Tororo District until Thursday, 20th March 1997, when Parliament passed the legislation creating six new Districts inclusive Busia, to exist with effect from 1st July 1997.
Location and size
Busia District is located in the south-eastern part of the Republic of Uganda, north of Lake Victoria and west of the Republic of Kenya. It is 196km from Kampala the capital city of the Republic of Uganda. The District lies approximately between longitudes 3305’ East and 3401’ East, and latitude 0010’North and 0035’ North and it covers a total surface area of 743 sq. km. Land area is 648.95 sq. Km while open water and swamps cover about 36.88 sq. Km.
The District is dominated by undulating plain topography with an altitude of about 1128 meters above sea level at Nebolola Hills in Lumino Sub-county. There are also low-lying areas, predominantly valleys with altitude of about 1,000meters above sea level. The most significant Rivers are Malaba to the north, River Lumboka to the west and Sio along the Busia-Kenya Boarder to Lake Victoria. Others are Okame, Solo, Namachi, Nasinjekhe, Nabihidwe and Eseka.
Most of the soils in the District are ferrallitic which characteristically represent almost the final stage in tropical weathering. They are mainly sandy loams and are usually with little differentiation into clearly defined horizons. The other group of soils is ferrisols which closely resemble ferrallitic soils. They are distinguished because they represent an earlier stage in the development of ferrallitic soils. They appear on crystalline basic rocks and possess better agronomic qualities. The exchange capacity is generally greater than 20m.c/100gm and is usually less than 50% saturated. The soils are generally poor with Buhehe Sub-county having the poorest soils. These soils no longer support high yields and therefore people continuously remain poor as adoptability to alternatives activities has been low.
Busia District has both surface and underground water sources. Wetlands and rivers cover a total are of 57.173sq. km, while open water, Lake Victoria, cover 36.88sq. km. The most significant permanent swamp systems are along River Lumboka to the west, forming part of the boundary with Bugiri District, and River Malaba to the north bordering Tororo District. There are also some smaller swamp systems along River Sio bordering Kenya. Other significant rivers are Okame, Solo, Namachi, Nasinjekhe, Nabihidwe and Eseka. The presence of numerous streams and swamps have enabled the District to have a high potential of protectable springs and easy to drill boreholes in major areas of the District especially in Busitema, Buteba, Masafu, Dabani and Bulumbi Sub-counties. There is also a potential for manual borehole augur in some parts of the District i.e. Masaba and Busitema Sub-counties. Otherwise the Sub-counties of Busime, Majanji, Lunyo, Lumino and Buhehe have no potentials for spring protection leaving the District with no option but to provide deep boreholes and rain water harvesting facilities. The quality of water is very palatable with very low mineral content in most parts of the District except areas near Lake Victoria. It was noted that pollution of water is the fourth most serious environmental issue in the District during (DEAP 2001) with 41% of the parishes in the District identifying it among the three priority issues. Pollution of water is mostly attributed to poor waste disposal and management, poor sanitation and washing and bathing in the water sources. The major water related diseases in Busia are Dysentery, Cholera, Typhoid and Diarrhea.
The District receives an annual rainfall of 1514mm varies from about 1080mm in the northern parts of the District to about 1940mm towards the lake. The rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the first rainy season (short rains) extending from March to May and a longer rainy season extending from August to November. While the mean annual maximum temperature is 28.70C and the mean annual minimum is 16.20C. The mean monthly maximum ranges from 270C to 310C, while the mean minimum sometimes falls to 160C especially at dawn (early morning). The above climatic condition supports two cropping seasons mainly of cereals thereby reducing incidences of food shortage.
The vegetation observed in the District has undergone considerable changes from that distinguished by Langdale Brown et.al., (1964) as a result of continuous cultivation burning or clearing for other purposes. What can be seen today can, therefore, be considered as remnants of the original vegetation types with some characteristics of the original one still seen in a few places. Taking the above observations into account, the following broad categories of vegetation types can be seen in the District:
- Medium Altitude Forest covering parts of Busitema Sub-county extending from the border with Bugiri District near Muwayo, and extending north-east along the Jinja-Tororo high way up to the border with Tororo District (along river Malaba),
- Moist Combretum Savanna,
- Wooded Savanna,
- Grass Savanna,
Forest Resources provide essential products for the predominantly rural population. Fire wood is the main source of energy supply and constitutes nearly 90% of the domestic energy requirement.Charcoal is also used extensively in the urban areas and some is exported to Kenya to earn income for a few individuals. These are however, significant pressure on the resource currently since the demand evidently surpasses the supply stock. Most of the parts of the District are devoid of the vegetation, leaving extensive patches bare which are susceptible to degradation. The total area under gazetted forest is 3.867 hectare (38.67 sq.km). High population densities and increased demand for forest products has led to encroachment on the forest reserve.
Busia District is a one County District (Samia-Bugwe County) and has One Municipal Council (Busia Municipal Council), with fourteen rural Sub-counties, two Divisions and four Gazetted Town Councils although none are operational. The District has 569 villages (545 rural and 24 Urban).
In line with the Local Government Act cap 243, the Local Governments in the District are District Council, 14 Sub-county Councils, 2 Division Councils and One Municipal Council. The District Council has an Executive Committee whose role is to initiate and formulate policies for approval by the Council and to oversee implementation of Government and Council policies among others. The council also has standing committees responsible for monitoring and reviewing the performance of their respective sectors and report to Council.
The Chief Administrative Officer heads the District Civil Service. The staff is deployed in 10 departments and two units namely:
- Administration inclusive of, Internal Audit and Procurement & Disposal Unit.
- Natural Resources.
- Community Based Services.
- Industry and Local Economic Development (TILED)
Population size, Growth and Fertility
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2017, The National Population and Housing Census 2014 – Area Specific Profile Series, Kampala, Uganda, the District population was 323,662 people composed of: Males; 156,447 persons (48.3%), and Females: 167,215 persons (51.7%). This represented 0.93 percent of the national population. Between 1980 and 2014 (34 years) the District population increased by 197,478 persons. Sixty two percent of this increment was attained in the period between 1991 and 2014. This indicated an average annual growth rate of 3.0 percent compared to the national average of 3.0 percent per annum over the same period. The total fertility rate is 5.4 births per woman.
Population indicators and projections
At a growth rate of 3.0% per annum, it is projected that the District population will be 438,500 by end-year 2025 up from 325,400 in September, 2014
(Source; UBOS 2019 Districts projected population)