Over 1,500 households in Kassanda district are engaged in vegetable growing using mobile drip irrigation.
Noah Ssempijja, the founder of Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment (YICE Uganda) a community-based social enterprise says, the kit is made of locally available materials including a water tank (150– 200liters), perforated drip irrigation pipes, and a raised metal or wood stands to increase water pressure.
It works for small-scale farmers such as vegetable growers, kitchen gardens, small orchards, nursery beds, and potted plants.
It is easy to use. A farmer has to station it in the middle of the garden and lay the drip pipes across the garden; preferably in crop lines before opening the water.
Once that section is irrigated, you move it to another station.
The kit can irrigate 100 by100 ft. at every station and then move to another side of the garden.
Jenefer Lhughabwe, an agronomist based in Kassanda adds that farmers who are near water sources can fetch water directly and pour it into the tank for it to irrigate or connect to a water source.
The total product cost for the kit is $65 (sh240,000) but it is sold between $80 – $100 to cover the cost of production and operation costs of the organization.
However, farmers can pay in instalments after harvesting.
“We strive to promote food security, regenerate biodiversity and achieve climate change adaptation all while improving farmers’ incomes,” Ssempijja explains.
This intervention has benefited over 1,500 households. Their incomes have improved and have achieved food security as well.
“Over 268 females and youth earn at least 100,000 from their produce monthly,” he says.
One such is Joyce Nabukalu, a resident of Kanyogoga in Kassanda district. She used to grow food crops for home consumption. The single mother of four lives on a half-acre of land.
However, three years ago, she shifted to vegetable growing using drip irrigation.
“My livelihood changed drastically. I now grow vegetables for sale all year,” she says.
From the proceeds, she educates her children and sustains her family as well.
Lhughabwe says they focus on vegetables because they grow fast. Also, farmers can harvest multiple times from the same plant throughout the year.
“Vegetables help improve nutrition and families’ livelihood. They can also be grown on a small piece of land,” she says.