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500 farmers stuck in Lamwo as ministry delays repairs at irrigation scheme

More than 500 farmers under Agoro Self-help Irrigation Cooperative Society Ltd in Lamwo district have not been able to carry out any farming this season due to a delay in repairing the multi-billion Agoro Irrigation Scheme.

Between 2012 and 2013, the Ministry of Water and Environment injected Shs 27 bn into rehabilitating the irrigation scheme, located in Agoro Sub-county, to boost agricultural production among the farming communities.

However, since it was handed over to members under the Agoro Self-help Irrigation Cooperative Society Ltd, the facility has failed to meet the needs of the farmers who say water does not reach their farmlands.

Farmers argue that the water dams and distribution points cannot tap water adequately from the hills to irrigate farms.

According to the Chairperson of the Cooperative Allan Ocaya, last year the farmers in the area were advised not to carry out any farming activity since repairs were meant to be carried out on the scheme within the year.

The farmers, most of whom grow rice, maize, groundnuts and vegetables, complied with the hope that they would reap big once works were completed.

“When the Ministry of Water pronounced that they were going to carry out the repairs, we were optimistic that it will help much in boosting the crop yields,” Ocaya said.

To-date, the disillusioned farmers are still waiting for the promised repairs to begin.

“You can imagine, it’s now a year and there is nothing on the ground. This has affected the livelihood of the farmers whose lives depend entirely on farming,’’ he said

The LC III Chairperson, Agoro Sub County, Denis Onyono, told theCooperator that they are engaging the ministry on how best they can get to the ground and help the farmers.

“We used to have water flowing in all the fields but since the rehabilitation of the scheme in 2013, the channels became too deep and water cannot flow by itself to the gardens,’’ he said.

Brenda Akao, Communication Officer for the Northern region in the Ministry of Water and Environment, said the works on Agoro were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic  that interfered with the scheduled work plan,“ but we hope to get works going this financial year,’’ she said.

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