Cooperatives & Communities

Lira rice farmers push planting to June as floods submerge fields

LIRA – A number of farmers under Itek Okile Rice Growers’ Multipurpose Cooperative Society [IORGMCS] in Itek Subcounty, Lira district say they will now plant in June after recent floods submerged rice fields.

According to the chairperson of the cooperative, Alfred Ocen, many farmers are still waiting for the flooded fields to dry before they can plant for in what is supposed to be the first season.

“We are still waiting and begin planting in June. This is because a number of gardens have been flooded and we cannot plant now,” Ocen said.

The members of the cooperative grow rice at the government-owned Olweny Rice Irrigation Scheme in Itek sub county.

IORMCS was established in 2001 with 30 farmers and with a goal to increase member incomes by providing better quality farm inputs and tools. The the membership of the cooperatives has risen to 1,500 cultivating a total of 1,800 acres of rice.

However, to help members boost production, the United States African Development Foundation [USADF] early last year offered Shs 912 million to the cooperative for capacity building.

To note is that during the Lord`s Resistance Army [LRA] insurgency in Northern Uganda, Olweny Rice Irrigation Scheme became bushy prompting a halt in production.

After the war ended, the World Bank through the ministries of Water and Environment, and agriculture, released Shs 52 billion to revamp the scheme located 10 kilometers east of Lira City.

The scheme covers four sub counties which include Barr, Agali, Amac and Itek.

Dr Jimmy Lamo, principal research officer and rice breeder at the National Agricultural Research Organization [NARO] said farmers using the irrigation scheme produce Narorice One and Kapaci 39 rice varieties which take only three months.

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