Irrigation Plan Yet to Kickoff

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In short
Alex Lwakuba, the Acting Commissioner Crop Production Department, says numerous studies are still ongoing on the projects. He says rehabilitation of Doho and Agoro irrigation schemes is due to kickoff.

The Agriculture Ministry is yet to start implementing the irrigation strategy despite being allocated Shillings 70 for irrigation. Government prioritized irrigation in this financial year budget so as to promote agriculture and ensure food security. The money is meant to finance the rehabilitation of existing irrigating systems and establishment of new valley dams and irrigation schemes.

 
In November last year, Government indicated that at least 1.6 Ugandans were in need of urgent food relief with their situations ranging from minimal to critical levels due to prolonged drought. As a result, government resorted to promote irrigation farming to combat the effects of drought.

 
Government announced plans to construct 5 irrigation schemes including Mubuku II in Kasese, Doho II in Butaleja, Wadelai in Nebbi, Tochi in Oyam and Ngenge in Kween. However, the projects are yet to kick off.
 
 
Alex Lwakuba, the Acting Commissioner Crop Production Department, says numerous studies are still ongoing on the projects. He says rehabilitation of Doho and Agoro irrigation schemes is due to kickoff. 



He however, says that unless the construction work is expedited, the schemes may not help if drought hits the country again. Asked about the stage of the Irrigation systems, Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, said they are now piloting small, medium and large irrigation systems, adding that most of them are working perfectly. 



He says most of the systems will be powered solar pumps while others will be on electricity power so as to pump water for irrigation. Ssempijja says if the irrigation schemes are worked upon, they can irrigate up 16 to 200 acres, while others between 300 and 500 acres. 




He says the process is slow as careful studies need to be taken. Uganda relies heavily on rainfall for its crop production. Government is also encouraging Ugandans to harvest rain water and embark on drip irrigation.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.