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Kwania farmer groups embrace Micro-scale Irrigation Programme

KWANIA, April 16, 2024 – At least five farmer groups in Kwania district have enrolled for the Micro-scale Irrigation Programme designed to enhance the uptake of cost-effective micro-irrigation technology by farmers in Uganda.

The government programme supports farmers in purchasing the irrigation equipment through a matching grant scheme, in which the cost of the equipment is co-financed by the farmer and the government.

Under the programme, farmers contribute 25 percent of the cost of solar-powered equipment, with the government covering the remaining 75 percent. The solar-powered systems, mounted on carts, can irrigate up to 2.5 acres per day according to manufacturers.

Government contributes a maximum contribution of Shs 7.2 million per acre. This means for example that if a farmer wants to irrigate 1 acre he/she may pay between Shs 2mln and Shs 8mln depending on the farmer’s farm situation and the irrigation equipment that the farmer chooses. For instance, if a farmer wants to irrigate 2.5 acres he/she may pay between Shs 5mln and Shs 20mln depending on your farm situation and the irrigation equipment that you choose.

According to Taddeo Mivulo, Kwania District Senior Agricultural Engineer, five farmer groups have already fully paid for and are being connected to the solar system.

“Currently, 22 farmers across the district have expressed interest in participating in this programme. Through this programme, farmers can procure irrigation equipment via a matching grant scheme and so far five farmers groups have acquired the equipment already,” he said.

On his part, George Johnson Ojok Ocen, Kwania District Production Coordinator and Marketing Officer encouraged more farmers to embrace the initiative to mitigate climate change and boost production.

“My message to the farmers is that they should stop relying on rain-fed agriculture.  For over years, farmers have been suffering the consequences of unreliable rainfall but the coming of this irrigation project is a primary solution to address the challenges,” he said.

Adding that, “I want to encourage farmers to form groups and nominate a representative to register on their behalf this will facilitate easier access to the program and address the financial burden.”

Geoffrey Alex Ogwal Adyebo, Kwania district LCV Chairman encouraged the farmers to embrace the programme. He emphasised the importance of providing extension services to support farmers in maximising the benefits of the programme.

Joel Olal, a vegetable farmer who received one of the irrigation systems expressed hope that the equipment will boost his production, “For long I have been relying on rainfall and this has affected so much the production. With the irrigation equipment, I am optimistic I will reap big, “he said.

Relatedly, another farmer, Moses Denis Ocen from Aduku Sub County welcomed the irrigation equipment saying, “The irrigation equipment has arrived in time. It will help me scale us my vegetable production using my fish pond which was redundant and the available water sources.”

According to government, the main aim of the Micro Scale Irrigation programme is to enhance the uptake of cost-effective micro-irrigation technology by farmers in Uganda so as improve farm productivity and their standard of living. The programme is part of Uganda’s National Irrigation Policy which aims to create more irrigated land by the year 2040.

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