FAO, Government launch UGX 900 million Irrigation schemes in Kalungu

By Malik Fahad Jjingo

Kalungu

In efforts to address the effects of climate change in Kalungu district the government of Uganda together with its partners of Food and Agricultural organization (FAO) and European Union (EU) have launched solar powered irrigation schemes to help farmers adapt to climate change effects and cultivate throughout the year.

The four-irrigation solar powered schemes in three sub counties of Lwabenge, Bukulula, Kyamulibwa in Kalungu district are part of the climate change adaptation measures programs FAO is implementing in Kalungu district and other cattle corridor districts to help farmers continue producing food amidst the challenges of climate change effects of prolonged drought and long dry spells the country is facing.

According to Denis Besigye, Agricultural Water Management/ irrigation consultant at FAO, the four irrigation schemes put up in Kalungu at Buwembe village which has a sprinkler system at cost of shs 185m will benefit farmers that cultivate cabbages, tomatoes and other vegetable at over 2-acre piece of land.

He said that another irrigation plant established at Busoga village will serve farmers groups that also produce vegetables and coffee at over 60-acre piece of land and this cost over shs.320m and another is at Mabuye plus an overhead tank among other irrigation points.

“The irrigation sites can enable farmers cultivate off season crops throughout the year and we always advise farmers to select high value crops to enable them benefit from so that they can benefit from these systems” he said

Besigye however asked the beneficiaries of the irrigation schemes to maintain them so that they benefit the communities for so long adding that they should ensure that they provide security to the sites that have been established to keep them from being vandalized since people are likely to target the solar panels installed to power the sites.

“We put up anti-theft systems and we have installed alarms at these sites but the farmers have to ensure that they put up security guards to these sites to ensure theft of these expensive equipment of water pumps and solar panels among other items at the sites” he added.

Jalia Kobusingye Balikudembe, climate change advisor on environment, climate change forestry and biodiversity at European union delegation Kampala, says that the Global Climate Alliance (GCCA) program aims at having quick response to challenge of climate change and irrigation agriculture is one of the measures put up to address this problem that is why this program is being implemented in areas that are at high risk.

She says that there is urgent need to shift from traditional way of doing things since the effects of climate change have greatly hit people in different parts of the country especially those in cattle corridor areas asking them to take up climate smart agriculture adaptation measures, improved technologies that are specific to climate action that can keep water in the soil for long.

“we have had changes in climate which has greatly affected farmers since rains in some area amounts have greatly reduced and in other areas it’s so distractive which led to introduction of technologies such as promoting irrigated agriculture in areas where they are working in and it has greatly helped farmers to get good yields even in long dry spells, effect of climate change especially droughts can be mitigated if we take up practices which make water available to the crops for long period of time which the GCCA program is handling all together” She added.

The farmers under their association Twezimbe Womens’ Group in Buwemba village in Kyamulibwa sub county in Kalungu one of the beneficiary groups led by Beatrice Nakiweewa applauded FAO for the intervention of irrigation plants in their area saying that it has greatly helped them to increase on their output though they are experiencing a long dry spell.

“Previously we could not produce such high-quality vegetables during this time of the dry spell but we have been able to get high yields and our challenge now is market for the produce we want and we need government now to help us get machines that can help us make tomatoes source so that we can add value to these crops and we earn more money out of them” she added.

Vincent Walugembe the chairperson of Kwekulakulanya Agriculture Group, another group that benefited from the irrigation scheme that covers over 60 acres of land says that for the little time they have had with the irrigation facility they have witnessed great improvement in their coffee and other crops they plant saying that with initiatives like irrigation the effects of climate change such as long dry spells will be addressed.

Dr Florence Grace Adong, the director of water resources management who represented the permanent secretary Ministry of Water and Environment, asked the farmers that benefited from the GCCA projects to adopt the use of organic Pesticides and reduce the use of chemicals since it puts their lives at risk.

Kalungu district chairperson Nyombi Mukibi  Kamaadi, says that long dry spells greatly affects Kalungu which affects agriculture in the district thanking FAO and government for the interventions asking the implementing patterns to consider extending  the projects to other parts of the district so that more farmers can benefit from them.

He however, asked the beneficiaries to protect the irrigation schemes from vandalism adding that they have to maintain by reporting to the contractors in case of any problems so that they can be fixed.

“the production is going to increase and this calls for value addition measures if farmers are to fully benefit from the program. Our call to the government and partners now is to support the farmers with capacity to add value to their crops” he added. 

2 thoughts on “FAO, Government launch UGX 900 million Irrigation schemes in Kalungu

  • October 15, 2021 at 9:06 am
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    Nice project

    Reply
    • October 19, 2021 at 6:09 am
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      Am one of the beneficiaries at busoga village thanks to fao and the government at large.

      Reply

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