In Uganda's Kapelebyong district, new hybrid irrigation systems will boost the water supply of 160 smallholder farmers. This is the aim of a local initiative supported by the World Bank.
A micro-scale irrigation project will be implemented in Kapelebyong, a district in eastern Uganda. It will include the installation of new on-farm irrigation systems to enhance water supply. The initiative was recently presented by the Kapelebyong district authorities, along with a capacity building programme for agricultural extension workers and local government leaders.
The facilities, which will be equipped with solar panels and diesel generators, will benefit 160 small-scale farmers. To take ownership of the irrigation system, each farmer will need to own at least one hectare of land, have a water source within 700m and be willing to co-finance 25% of the purchase of the irrigation system. The local government will cover 75% of the cost, with funding of 7.2 million shillings per hectare of land, equivalent to US$57,111.
Increasing Uganda’s irrigated land area
In addition to water supply, the micro-scale irrigation project will improve agricultural yields, as well as Uganda’s economic returns, given that agriculture employs 70% of Ugandans. “In FY2021/22, agriculture accounted for 24.1% of Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 33% of export earnings,” says the Ugandan Ministry of Finance.
The Department of Agricultural Infrastructure Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production in Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Fisheries is implementing the micro-scale irrigation project, which will also enable Uganda to increase its irrigated land area to 1.5 million hectares by 2040. “Smallholder farmers in Kapelebyong District will also benefit from additional agricultural extension support to ensure that their irrigation investments are put to optimal use,” says John William Ejiet, the Kapelebyong Agricultural Officer.
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This initiative is part of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Reform Programme (IFTRP), supported by the World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Programme (UgIFT). UgIFT aims to improve the adequacy and equity of fiscal transfers and the fiscal management of resources by local governments for health and education services.