Irrigation drive boosts export earnings

Investment in irrigation schemes is the driving force behind the tremendous increase in Uganda’s export earning, a new status report by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has revealed.

Agricultural mechanization involves the provision and use of improved technologies as a means of empowering farmers to develop from subsistence to commercial farming.

In other words, the increased access to water for agriculture production by farmers has resulted in increased yield and production in the irrigated areas.  The results of the past five years since government embarked on this strategy are astounding, with the country’s exports increasing from $1.326 billion in 2015/16 to $1.585 billion in 2018/19.

Much of this increase in exports is attributed to the fast-growing horticulture sub-sector, where irrigation has helped farmers grow crops all year round regardless of the weather patterns.

According to the report, horticulture is most thriving due to government’s continued investment in the construction of irrigation schemes that have helped rural farmers water their crops during harsh weather. Already, works are underway to complete five major irrigation schemes that include Torchi in Oyam district, Ngenge in Kween district and Mobuku II in Kasese district. Others are Doho II in Butaleja district and Wadelai in Pakwach district. The schemes, when complete, will greatly contribute to increased production of rice, aquaculture, fruits and vegetables.

At the same time, the ministry’s development of the irrigation policy has also provided a regulatory framework for the private and public investments. To further boost irrigation at regional level, government is also constructing four mechanization centers. The regional mechanization centers will decentralize the irrigation and water for agriculture production services across Uganda.

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