Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture has said that it earmarked Shs148 billion for the initial phase of the proposed micro-scale irrigation programme targeted at improving farmers’ yields.
Farmers in Uganda have often experienced challenges resulting from climate change, which has hindered crop yields, water and pasture availability.
According to the Ministry, it aims to create about 3.75 million acres of land under irrigation across the country.
The scheme would also provide farmers with irrigation equipment – co-financed by the farmers – to support 2.5 acres of land.
A publication from the Ministry noted that the government would pay between 25 percent and 75 percent of the total cost of the irrigation equipment, but with a maximum contribution of Shs7.2 million per acre.
This implies that farmers may pay between Shs2m and Shs8m per acre depending on the nature of the farm and the irrigation equipment that they choose.
Speaking on the initiative, Commissioner of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agriculture, Mr. Ronald Kato revealed that the first phase would benefit smallholder farmers in 40 districts.
The 40 districts, he added, were selected based on their needs for irrigation, interest and capacity in growing crops of national importance (coffee and horticulture).
Kato said, “Three thousand farmers have so far expressed interest. The programme supports farmers to purchase and use individual irrigation equipment.
“We looked at the market information studies, the coffee road map and areas where there are no irrigation interventions, and the responsiveness of the districts to our call for expression of interest in the programme.
“Some districts did not respond and others have not yet recruited district agricultural engineers which were pre-requisite”.
The commissioner further stated that farmers who met the criteria would need to go to their district agricultural officer, production officer or extension worker.
“Upon expressing your interest, the officer will come to your farm. We have a mobile application technology for registration.
“They [officer] will take your details, including acreage and GPS of your farm and that data will automatically trickle to us at the ministry and World Bank,” he said while addressing farmers.