The Government, through the agriculture ministry, recently started training agricultural extension workers from district local governments in the implementation of the micro-scale irrigation programme.
The one-week training workshop took place at the National Farmers Leadership Centre in Kampiringisa, Mpigi district.
The state minister for agriculture, Fred Bwino, represented by the director of agriculture extension services in the agriculture ministry, Dr Patience Rwamigisha, opened the training.
Bwino, in his message, said the training is intended to enrich the capacity of the district local government in implementing the farmer field school approach of training farmers in irrigated agriculture, agronomy, marketing and imparting mindset change to local farmers countrywide.
“After this training, we expect you to go back and disseminate the information and skills you have acquired to our local farmers through the farmer field schools established in your local areas, as well as mobilise and motivate our farmers to participate in the government programmes, such as the Parish Development Model and others intended to uplift their standards of living,” the message read.
Rwamigisha, the director of agriculture extension services at the agriculture ministry, cautioned the trainees against laziness in implementing government programmes, yet their salaries were enhanced.
“The Government introduced the micro-scale irrigation programme to help smallholder farmers cope with the ever-changing climate. It is, therefore, our duty to disseminate this information to the local farmers to embrace irrigation so that their lives can be changed,” he added.
John Bosco Okwaja, the principal of the National Farmers Leadership Centre, said this training is mainly targeting the district agriculture officers, senior agricultural engineers and senior agricultural officers from selected districts.
According to Okwaja, the trained extension workers shall be responsible for establishing and running the farmer field school in their local governments after the training.
“We are imparting these trainees with skills to help them effectively implement the farmer fi eld school approach of training local farmers in irrigated agriculture. We hope the knowledge and skills will help farmers embrace this programme and change their mindset,” Okwaja said.
He, however, called on government to increase funding for the institute so that it can offer better services to the country.
Okwaja said the accommodation at the centre cannot house bigger numbers of the trainees, which affects their duties since they have to divide them into cohorts.
The micro-scale irrigation programme is one of the recent interventions by the Government to help farmers cope with the ever-changing seasons.
The programme helps farmers to purchase and use micro irrigation equipment on a co-fund basis where government contributes 75% and the farmer remits the 25%.
It is supported by the World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental fiscal Transfer Reform programme Additional Financing.
Eng. Titus Nuwamanya, the principal engineer in charge of irrigation at the National Farmers Leadership Centre, said the micro-scale irrigation programme beneficiaries will be provided with additional agricultural extension support to make optional use of their irrigation investments.