Micro-scale Irrigation can be an Agriculture Game changer in Kabale District.
BY Alex Byakatonda
The Kabale District Principal Agriculture officer, Deus Baguma Bagambana, has urged farmers in the district to adapt new types of irrigation, saying that world over, irrigation can be an agriculture game changer, because of climatic changes.
Baguma on Thursday addressing over 300 farmers from across the district, after two days of farmer visits to irrigation demonstration farms in Kahondo parish of Maziba Sub county and Buhara sub counties respectively.
The demonstration farm, are part of the farms that Kabale District, started under the Micro-Scale irrigation program, which government is implementing under the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Reform Program (IFTRP) and is supported by the World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Program (UgIFT).
The Micro-scale Irrigation Program is in line with Uganda’s National Irrigation Policy which aims to create 1.5 million hectares of irrigated land by the year 2040. The Program supports farmers in purchasing the irrigation equipment through a matching grant scheme, in which the cost of the equipment is co-financed by the farmer and the government. It caps the support to 2.5 acres; thus it is expected to benefit mainly smallholder farmers interested to transition from mainly subsistence to more commercial agriculture. In addition, the farmer receives complimentary services such as extension support in irrigated agriculture.
Baguma, says that when farmers embrace the program, they will be able to cope with dry spells, produce during the dry season, transition to higher-value crops, such as horticultural crops and coffee, and hit the market when prices are more advantageous.
He says that the importance of these demonstration gardens, is act as learning point for farmers, who are expected to adapt apply the acquired knowledge and skills in their gardens so that they can continue producing even during the dry season.
The Senior Agricultural Engineer, Paulino Tiragana Ndyabanoha, says that micro-scale Irrigation Program is meant to support farmers to purchase and use micro-scale irrigation equipment.
He adds that targeted farmers must primarily be smallholder farmers, who are mainly subsistence but willing to move into more commercial agriculture especially those engaged in growing high value crops like coffee, vegetables and fruits among others.
Tiragana, says under the program 326 farmers, who expressed interest in the program, were trained in three types of irrigation namely, drip irrigation, sprinklers and drug horse. He adds that the farmer visit, was organized to help farmers to appreciate these different types of irrigation and after which they should go and practice the same in their gardens.