Kalungu residents cry foul over missing out on irrigation projects

Residents of Bugomola Village, Kalungu District visiting one of the gardens benefiting from the solar powered irrigation system after its installation in May 2022.

What you need to know:

  • The Ministry of Agriculture with funding from the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the European Union installed the schemes to increase agricultural productivity even during dry spells

Residents in Kalungu have expressed disappointment over the under utilisation of four multi-million solar irrigation systems that were installed in the district  last year.
The irrigation system were installed in Bukulula, Kyamulibwa, and Lwabenge sub-counties at a cost of Shs900m.
The Ministry of Agriculture with funding from the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the European Union installed the schemes to increase agricultural productivity even during dry spells .

Mr James Lwesabula, a smallholder farmer at Mabuye Village in Bukulula Sub-county, said although they gave out part of their land to create a channel where irrigation system pipes pass, the project has not benefited them.
He said the project has only benefited 12 youths at Mabuye Village who grow crops on two acres yet the sub-county has 3,500 households spread in 74 villages engaged in farming.
“We had hopes that we shall tap water from that system to support our farming activities and that is why we allowed them to use part of our land to lay pipes, but this has not been the case,” Mr Lwesabula said on Saturday.
“ The few people who are using the irrigation system claim that it cannot serve the entire village, which I think is not true,” he added.

Mr Gonzaga Ssengabi, the Bukulula Sub-county agricultural officer, said the lack of a storage tank has limited chances of connecting the entire community to the irrigation system. 
“We have written to the Ministry of Agriculture to see whether they can amend the memorandum of understanding they have with the group so that all residents can benefit and also provide a big storage tank that can serve the entire village,” he said.
Mr David Ssegawa, the chairperson Lwabenge Sub-county, said the situation is not different in his area where a Shs260m solar irrigation system was installed.
“Our solar irrigation system lacks a reservoir and it currently benefits only a group of youths who grow crops on four acres of land yet there is an urgent need [for irrigation] in the community,” Mr Ssegawa said.

Kalungu is one the districts in the cattle corridor that usually suffers prolonged dry spells.
In neighbouring Lwengo District, which suffers similar challenges, the government set up a Shs1b an irrigation scheme in 2016  to help farmers but it has also failed to serve its intended purpose. 
Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture revealed they will establish more small-scale irrigation schemes in all the parishes across the country to improve livelihoods in rural areas through commercial farming.
 

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