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Kikuube district overwhelmed by farmers seeking solar-powered irrigation systems

KIKUUBE, January 16, 2024 – Kikuube district production department is overwhelmed by the number of farmers seeking  solar-powered irrigation systems to mitigate the effects of climatic change.

Kikuube District Local Government recently started identifying farmers to be supported with farming technologies under the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer programme [UGIFT].

According to Dr. Samuel Kahesi, the Kikuube district Principal Agricultural Officer, they have registered overwhelming numbers of farmers compared to the financial resources provided to the district by UGIFT.

He noted that they have so far received 300 applications from smallholder farmers. He said 70 have qualified while 19 farmers have already paid their 25 percent in the co-funding arrangement and soon they will receive their irrigation solar systems.

He noted that under this arrangement, government supports the farmers with 75 percent which is Shs 18 million  the beneficiary  farmer contributes Shs 6mln.

He said for the application to be considered, a farmer’s farming enterprise has to be within  700 metres from the water source, and willing to co-fund the purchase of the irrigation system.

He added that during this 2023/24 financial year, the district will be able to supports 32 farmers, adding that farmers with no financial capacity to pay the Shs 6mln co-funding can get loans from banks.

“Under this programme we supports farmers to acquire equipment for micro irrigation, have the equipment installed and also train them how to use them, for this arrangement, government supports the farmers with 75 percent which is Shs 18 million while the farmers contributes 25 percent which is Shs 6 million, for the farmers who are not have readily available cash, they can get credits from banks for example Centenary and Opportunity banks,” he said.

He made the remarks during a mini farmers’ exhibition dubbed “Meet and Interact  with Farmers” organised by Kikuube district on Wednesday aimed at sensitizing farmers on how to use modern farming technologies.

Peter Banura, the Kikuube district LCV Chairperson asked able farmers to embrace modern methods of farming in order to be able to produce throughout the year.

He noted that if farmers in the district use modern methods of farming such as use of fertilisers, and irrigation, they can be able to double yields and supply the oil and gas sector.

He noted that the Shs 6mln co-funding for the irrigation system is manageable for some of the farmers. He challenged the farmers not to miss the opportunity availed by government. “We need to interest ourselves in farming, this is why government has come in, we have been trying to encourage government to gives us such offers such that our people can embrace farming,” he said

Farmers  commended government for initiating the programmes  that support them, saying  solar-powered irrigation system has come at the right  time when there is the challenge of  unpredictable rains which have seen several farmer suffer losses.

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