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Apac farmers acquire micro-irrigation scheme

APAC, September 15, 2023 -As part of efforts towards improving agricultural productivity government has commissioned a micro-scale irrigation demonstration site to serve members of Ayara Farmers' Group in Apac district.

Speaking Tuesday at the demo site in Awila Parish, Akokoro Sub-county on Tuesday, the Apac resident district commissioner, George Abudul rallied farmers' groups in the area to engage in commercial farming since they can now access water for irrigation throughout the year.

Abudul urged the group members to use the demonstration garden to sensitise members of the community to adopt irrigation instead of waiting for rainfall so that they can do farming.

He expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAIF] for the project, noting that farmers of Apac district will no longer have to wait for rains as the irrigation equipment provided will ease the burden of water access for agricultural production.

He further urged farmers to use the project to improve their lives, saying agriculture is the backbone of the country.

The district production and marketing officer Dr. James Ongu Elim urged the entire district production staff to copy the project and establish similar demonstration gardens in all the sub-counties in the district.

The project targets small-scale farmers with two and half acres of land with a nearby water source.

He said government through MAAIF introduced the irrigation programme to enable farmers cultivate throughout the year to improve food security and maximise income generation from agricultural production.

Canon George Adoko, the chief administrative officer told the members of Ayara Farmers' Group that the the project would be withdrawn from them in case they mishandle it.

Adoko further urged the farmers to maximise production of horticulture, such as growing tomatoes, cabbages and other greens.

The district leader of government business, Jasper Odongo Tonny said  the project is for the community but shall be supervised by the sub-county leaders.

He asked the group to increase the level of production by growing tomatoes, water melon, carrots and green paper, saying it will attract businessmen from other parts of Uganda.

Ekwaro Andrew Amoki, the vice chairperson of Ibuje Sub-county welcomed the project, saying 70 farmers in the area will now be busy in their farms all the year unlike in the previous years when farmers encountered losses as a result of prolonged drought.

He added that Apac district local government early this year donated 250 seedlings of coffee to the farmers’ group to plant but about 70 seedlings withered due to drought.

However, he said with the irrigation scheme now in place, farmers will be able to farm throughout the year and improve the welfare of their families.

“We are happy because people will be able to generate income, improve livelihood, and send their children to school,” he said.

Apac district offcials and farmers while launching the micro scale irrigation project (Courtesy photo).

Margaret Akello, a member of Ayara Farmers’ Group welcomed the irrigation project, saying it will boost commercial farming, as among others, they will not have to wait for the rainfall.

She added that with the irrigation scheme now established, they will be able to recruit more farmers into the group.

The micro-scale irrigation program will help farmers to buy irrigation equipment at a low cost where the Government of Uganda is to share the cost of the equipment with the farmers by paying between 25 percent and 75 percent of the total cost of the irrigation equipment depending on the farm situation and the type of irrigation equipment chosen by the farmer.

The cost of the equipment depends on the closeness of the water source to the land for irrigation, terrain of the land, soil suitability, evidence as to whether the farmer has access to the land for at least one year, eligibility for contribution to the cost of the irrigation equipment as well as willingness to grow and sell high value crops like horticulture crops and coffee.

The programme is being funded by the Government of Uganda with support from World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Program [UgIFT], MAAIF as the lead ministry, implemented by the production and marketing department at the district level.

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