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Apac commissions the Micro-scale irrigation demo site
By Bongonyinge Felix-Communication Officer/Apac
As part of the Government efforts towards improving Agricultural productivity through provision of funds for the Micro scale irrigation in the District, Apac District Local Government has commissioned the UGIFT micro scale irrigation demo site.
Speaking at the demo site in Acanyeng Otyeno, Awila Parish, Akokoro Sub County, the Apac Resident District Commissioner George Abudul rallied the group members to leave the issues of politicizing Government projects where sometimes people are sidelined because of the party he/she belongs to.
Abudul who was impressed by the project urged the group members to use the demonstration garden to sensitize community to enable people adopt irrigation. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda through Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for the project noting that farmers of Apac District will no longer wait for rains to plant crops in that the irrigation equipment provided will ease the burden of water access for Agriculture production.
He further urged the members to use the project to improve their lives and improve the capacity of the garden by purchasing more pipes but warned them against going for loans to purchase more tools for irrigation but should use the funds generated from the harvest. This approach will help people out of poverty since Agriculture is the backbone of the country.
The District Production and Marketing Officer Dr. James Ongu Elim said the project is the demonstration site which he urge the entire District Production Staff to copy and transfer the skills to help them establish a Demonstration gardens in all the Sub Counties in the District.
This is a project for small scale farmers with two and half acres of land with a nearby water source.
He said the Government of Uganda through Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF) introduced the irrigation program to enable us cultivate throughout the year to improve food security and maximize income generation from Agric production. He requested the District Fisheries Officer to establish a fish pond at the site which water from the dam shall be pumped to the pond so that next time the team shall be visiting the fish pond and requested group members to extend the garden.
Canon George Adoko, the Chief Administrative Officer told the members of Ayera Farmers group that the project did not move to the site abruptly but it was through the request from the group, political leaders from Akokoro and Apac to the Government who understands what farmers go through, prompting the Government to introduce Irrigation.
He warned the group members that the project will be withdrawn from them in case they mishandle and taken to another Sub County with organized group that will keep and use it well.
Adoko further urged the members to maintain the project for the group and should be used to maximize production of horticulture for everyone to refer to them when there is need for tomatoes, cabbages and other greens.
The District Leader of Government Business (for District Chairperson), Mr. Odongo Tonny Jasper told the group to be happy since the Senior Assistant Secretary for Akokoro Sub County, Abongo Innocent assured him that there will be funds to open the community access road that will lead people to the site. He emphasized that the project is for the community but shall be supervised by the Sub County leaders.
He asked the group to increase the level of production by growing tomatoes, water melon, carrots and green paper so that the District start attracting people from all of Uganda to visit which shall be generating revenue for the District.
Odongo reminded the group members that the project went to them not because they were the best group and urged them to defend by managing the equipment well for it to be in history to be first group to establish the Micro Scale irrigation demonstration garden in Apac.
The micro-scale irrigation program will help farmers to buy irrigation equipment at a low cost where the Government of Uganda is to share the cost of the equipment with the farmers by paying between 25% and 75% of the total cost of the irrigation equipment depending on the farm situation and the type of irrigation equipment chosen by the farmer.
The cost of the equipment will depend on the closeness of the water source to the land for irrigation, terrain of the land, soil suitability, evidence as to whether the farmer has access to the land for at least one year, eligibility for contribution to the cost of the irrigation equipment as well as willingness to grow and sell high value crops like horticulture crops and coffee.
The program is being funded by the Government of Uganda with support from World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Program (UgIFT), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as the lead Ministry, implemented by the Production and Marketing department at the District level.