Scaling Up Micro-Scale Irrigation Program in Kibaale, Farmers Want Gov’t Subsidize the System

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Farmers in Kibaale district have asked the government to subsidize the small-scale irrigation system to enable them acquire it at an affordable amount.

Farmers who were being trained on how to use the irrigation system at Hess Farm in Nyamarwa Sub County Kibaale district said the co-funding fees are still too high to be raised by local farmers who would wish to practice agriculture all year to enhance their productivity and incomes.

According to farmers, the co-funding charge ranges between sh3 million and sh5 million which they say is too much to be raised by a local farmer.

Hassan Matovu, the senior Agricultural officer Kibaale said if the government is to fully enroll every farmer, it should allow small scale farmers to pay the co funding in installments since it has been proved that paying the required amount at once is not manageable by local farmers.

“As I said there is a contribution of 25% which translates to almost sh5 million and this money is supposed to be paid up front. With the capacity of our farmers in Kibaale, this cannot be realized. I therefore ask the government to accept that farmers pay in installments,” Matovu said.

David Mugenyi, the senior Agricultural Engineer Kibaale district said most farmers in Kibaale are subsistence farmers who cannot afford to pay the little fee charged for the irrigation system.

Mugenyi also expressed fear that the irrigation system will be affected by the drying up of water sources due to increased population that continue to demand for expansion of land for agriculture.

Mugenyi also noted that several issues like land conflicts may rise up since the irrigation pipes sometimes pass through other people’s land though as a district they have tried to ask for consent from land owners and put appropriate modalities to address the challenge.

Mugenyi also mentioned the other side effects of this system which they have addressed as technical people.

Kibaale district Production department staff-Photo by Thomas Tumwebaze

Kibaale district is among the 40 districts under phase one to benefit from the micro scale irrigation program rolled out in 2020 under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) with funding from World Bank

Technical staff at Kibaale district said this program will help in conservation of wetlands since people go to wetlands to look for wet soils that can support plant growth during the dry season.

Agriculture is the lifeblood of Uganda’s economy. It employs about 70% of the population and contributes a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). But while Uganda possesses abundant freshwater resources, a lack of water infrastructure and increasingly unpredictable rainfall due to climate change are just some of the challenges faced by the farmers.

Kibaale district has 6 farmers with full irrigation systems installed and functional while 25 have been approved to receive the irrigation system.

Carol Kashaija Muyambi, the Kibaale district Deputy RDC however said the micro scale irrigation schemes in Kibaale are doing well and that they had previously hosted the former state minister for economic Monitoring in the office of the president Peter Ogwang who also approved its functionality.

Carol however warned residents in Kibaale who don’t engage in any productive economic activities that they risk being chased away from their villages to pave way for development.

“I want to ask all Sub County and Parish chiefs to make sure that everyone has what to do in their respective villages, if there is anyone found idle he or she should be chased away from that village,” Kashaija said.

The Micro-scale solar powered irrigation system-Photo by Thomas Tumwebaze

Godwin Angalia Kasigwa, the Resident District Commissioner Kibaale said the government has put all necessary conditions for every Ugandan to develop and asked Ugandans to embrace all government programs including the ongoing Parish Development Model.

The Micro scale irrigation program is led by the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure Mechanization and water for Agriculture production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

The program is part of Uganda’s National Irrigation policy aimed at creating more irrigated land by the year 2040.


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