UGANDA – Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has commissioned the construction of two irrigation schemes in an effort to raise local production and improve income for farmers, Nile Post has reported.
The project, which is funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), will help 9000 small-scale rice farming households to increase rice production from 1.5 ton to 5 ton per ha.
One of the projects is located in Igogero in Bugiri district while the other is being constructed in Naigombwa, Bugweri District.
The project is in close collaboration with two development Pearl Rice Company Ltd -PRL and Busowa Traders and Farmers’ Cooperative Society Ltd-BTFCSL.
The project design entails a modern irrigation scheme with two multipurpose dams and a canal network to guarantee all-year water availability for irrigation.
The project also aims at controlling the floods that have long ravaged the region causing insurmountable losses to ordinary smallholder rice farmers in the Busoga sub-region.
The current rice production in Uganda stands at 350,000 MT annually which is insufficient to meet local demand and thereby necessitating imports.
With good farming practices and modern irrigation infrastructure, Uganda has the potential to raise its output and even become an export hub in the region.
According to project stakeholders, farmers are being organized in groups to work closely with the aforementioned partners who will be the main off-takers of the rice produced from the scheme; thereby safeguarding the market for the produce from the scheme
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Davidson Kasaija, the chairman of Bugiri called upon the locals to support the project to ensure it becomes a reality since it will help boost rice growing in the area.
Backing him up, Hon Racheal Magoola, the woman member of parliament for Bugweri assured farmers that the 1500 bags of rice per harvest they have been harvesting from the swamp every harvest season is poised to rise to over 50,000 bags following good and modern farming practices.
The project will, besides rice growing, involve setting up fish cages to boost the production of fish both for domestic consumption and export.
In addition, the project will further construct demonstration centers that serve as learning centers for farmers on how to manage modern rice and fish farming projects.