The government of Uganda has handed over a Shs47 billion worth of irrigation scheme to farmers in the Lira District.
The project is set to benefit no fewer than 15,000 farm families in the three sub-counties of Barr, Agali and Itek.
According to reports, the project was initiated in the 1940s but failed due to a lack of financial support from the government.
The scheme which was built for rice growing covers a landmass of about 600 hectares in the western part of the lower Olweny, Swamp, bisected from East to West by the Soroti-Agwata-Lira highway.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries admonished the beneficiaries while commissioning the scheme, to put the project into good use.
Kasajja was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Vincent Ssempijja.
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environmental, Mr Alfred Okot said that the government was looking to invest more in irrigation systems to make farmers resistant to climate change.
“At the moment, we are doing the irrigation masterplan and we are looking at where we can put the various facilities for irrigation across the entire country. We are doing that jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
The perm-sec also urged residents to take advantage of the irrigation scheme to better their lives.
“We have the equipment, you simply need to get some little money for fuel and pay a small allowance for the operators. They can dig for you a dam which you can use for your animals and also irrigation.
“Experience shows that when you have this storage facility at hand, your productivity goes up between five to six times because you can produce throughout the year.
This, therefore, actually pushes us to lower middle income within just two seasons”.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Chairman of the Itek-Okile Rice Growers and Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, Mr Morris Engin lauded the government for the intervention, adding that productivity and yields have immensely increased following the rehabilitation of the scheme.
Egin further revealed that the group have realized 70,000kg of rice in the first season alone.