Climate Change: Experts urge government to prioritise investing in irrigation systems

KAMPALA-Climate Change and Environmental experts have urged government to prioritise and invest more resources in the establishment of irrigation systems across the country.

This comes at a time when several parts of the country have experienced prolonged droughts that have resulted in the drying of crops and the death of livestock due to a lack of water and enough pasture.

Michael David Terungwa, the Team Leader at the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation, a Nigerian-based organisation, said governments across Africa need to support farmers not to depend entirely on rainfed agriculture but also to take up irrigated agriculture.

Terungwa said that by governments investing in irrigation systems, farmers will be able to farm all the year, ensuring food security and improving their household incomes.

The Ugandan government has started the process of establishing irrigation systems in different parts of the country, for instance, in Amuru Sub-county in Amuru district. Plans are also underway to establish another in Atiak Sub-county, also in Amuru district.

Terungwa believes that to fight drought and food insecurity, farmers also need to be supported with water saving mechanisms alongside the irrigation systems.

“We need governments to support their farmers with irrigation systems because individually, most farmers can`t afford to invest in installing one…. Farmers especially in drought-prone areas need to be supported to save water so that they can cultivate all through the year other than waiting for rain which is becoming more unpredictable,” Terungwa said.

In 2019, Parliament approved a Euro101.8 million loan to develop 920 water supply systems for domestic use and irrigation across the country. The loan was to be borrowed from the UK Export Finance (UKEF) through the Ministry of Water and Environment over a three-year period.

In a recent interview, Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance said that Cabinet has approved a loan to fund the installation of a solar-powered irrigation assembling plant.

Baryomunsi said that upon completion, the plant will supply the country with solar-powered irrigation machines.

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