In a drive to boost agriculture production in Madi-Okollo district, the Government, through the ministries of agriculture and local government, is implementing a micro irrigation programme that is supported by the World Bank, through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers (UGFIT) programme.
The micro-scale irrigation programme will be implemented at the district level through the creation of micro-scale irrigation windows. The revelation was made during the awareness-creation to the district leaders on the programme on Friday.
Abiriga Francis, the focal person for the irrigation programme, said agriculture in Uganda is predominantly rain-fed yet it faces climate changes including erratic rainfall, prolonged dry spells and flooding, which result in low productivity.
According to Abiriga, the Government will support individual farmers through subsidy purchase of irrigation equipment between 25% and 75% with a maximum contribution of $2,000 (about sh7.2m ) per acre per farmer.
The programme targets farmers with at least 2.5 acres to grow high-value crops such as vegetables, fruits, coffee and pasture.
Madi-Okollo district agriculture officer Grace Ozitiru said the programme targets to benefit a total of 207 farmers who expressed interest.
She urged the leaders to mobilise farmers to embrace the micro-irrigation programme because the district has the potential of producing fruits and vegetables in large quantities.
Arua district agriculture engineer Elia Onziga said to benefit from the irrigation programme, a farmer needs 2.5 acres with proof of ownership and access to water.
This will help ease production for high-quality crops such as horticulture, coffee and pasture and pay part of the money for purchasing irrigation equipment.
The councillors appreciated the programme and said it will boost the household income of the people in the district in addition to increasing food production for consumption.
They said most tomatoes in West Nile region markets are transported from Mbale district and other areas yet Madi-Okollo has the potential to produce high-quality tomatoes.
Now, this irrigation initiative is expected to boost tomato production in the district and hence supply West Nile markets.