LIRA-Miromi Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Agali Sub-county Lira district wants government to establish sources of water, especially irrigation schemes for agricultural production in the country.
A report conducted by Uganda Farmers Common Voice platform indicates that although Uganda is endowed with water resources, most farmers in the country rely on rain-fed agriculture. This is mainly due to limited access to irrigation based water sources such as irrigation schemes.
The Limited access to water for production, especially for smallholder farmers, according to the report authored by Professor Moses Tenywa of Makerere University, is attributed to poor legal framework in the country.
Now, the cooperative wants government to support them with an irrigation scheme in order to help them produce more food and sell during the dry season, noting that some places have irrigation schemes and are doing well.
The Cooperative established in 2016 and located at Acanroma village, Okile parish in Amac Sub-county deals in onion and tomato production during the dry season.
Nixson Ogwang, the chairman of the cooperative society wants the government to support them with irrigation equipment to boost their production, adding that government needs to come up with a policy on water for agricultural production.
According to him, this would encourage participation of the private sector in solving some of the challenges hindering small-scale farmers to have irrigation schemes that keep farmers busy throughout the year.
“The current technologies on the markets are very Miromi Farmers’ Cooperative Society expensive to ordinary farmers like us but through private-public Partnerships, the government can subsidise the costs and attract the private sector to avail the technologies to farmers at cheaper prices,” he said.
Donald Denis Opio, the Chairperson of Can-Onoto-Waa Youth Farmers’ Group which is also under Miromi Farmers’ Cooperative Society said they always realise about Shs 20 million after a sale of only one acre of tomatoes during the dry season venture.
He added that part of the money got from the project is shared among the individual youths who are engaged in tomato farming.
Lillian Edonga, a member of the Cooperative, said money from onion project has enabled her to build a permanent house. She equally asked for government support of the irrigation system so that they are able to produce onions and other vegetables during the dry season when farmers are not able to engage in farming due to drought.
Another farmer Ellen Akello said they are now targeting producing tomato and onions on a large scale for export. Akello called upon the government to support them with irrigation so that they are able to create employment by themselves through farming and boots household income.
Erute South Member of Parliament Jonathan Odur in an interview with theCooperator commended the members of the cooperative for engaging in farming during this dry season and pledged to make follow up with the government.
“As leaders we shall ensure that money is available in the subsequent financial years to support farmers to access water for production. Without fighting for the farmers, Uganda will be food insecure since rain-fed agriculture cannot sustain food production in the country,” he said.
Uganda has enormous freshwater endowments covering about 15 percent of the total areas of the country, thus providing great production for increased opportunities for increased agricultural production and productivity, water for production is estimated to account for 60-70 percent of the total national water requirements according to reports.
However, only 2 percent of the water is utilised for production with 1 percent used in irrigation compared to the 70 percent of water used for irrigation worldwide.
Experts say that low utilisation of water for production has contributed to a decline in agricultural productivity, mostly for smallholder farmers who dominate the agricultural sector in Uganda and mainly depend on rain-fed agriculture.
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