Farmers in Mpigi district have been urged to embrace irrigation as a way of coping with the ever-changing climatic condition and also boost food production in the country.
This was during a mindset change workshop aimed at empowering farmers’ capacity to build resilience to climatic change through irrigation promotion held at Mpigi district agriculture development centre.
Dr Moses Mwesigwa director of the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NALIRRI) and also a senior researcher at NARO, said to attain agro-industrialisation, farmers ought to embrace irrigation farming as rains are no longer predictable.
“We have to change our mindset as farmers and adopt irrigation farming, you may not have money to do it on a large scale, using powerful machines, but President Yoweri Museveni recently demonstrated how to use tin irrigation which everybody can afford,” Mwesigwa said.
He added that rich farmers who can afford to buy irrigation gadgets can get in touch with the government to provide them with solar-powered irrigation pumps and they pay in instalments.
Mwesigwa advised Mpigi farmers to put wetlands in the district to good use instead of destroying them.
“Mpigi is one of the districts in Uganda with a large wetland cover. Farmers can have access to water for animals and crops (irrigation),” he said.
He also appealed to the youth to embrace farming and take it as a business that can transform their lives.
He revealed that NARO is in the final stages of developing a vaccine for African swine fever which has affected the animals and put many farmers in Uganda at loss.
Patrick Sserwadda, the head of Mpigi district production department, said that the district started a campaign to sensitize farmers to change their mindset on irrigation to promote Agro-industrialisation.
He called on farmers to always seek help from the district extension workers in their areas if they encounter challenges.
“We call upon our farmers to make better use of the district extension workers in their areas for guidance and knowledge to improve their agricultural yields,” Sserwadda said.
Ronald Kazibwe, the district commercial officer, assured the farmers that the commercial department of the district is ready and working tirelessly to connect farmers to the available markets for their produce and products.
“We drew a plan which we are following to reach out to commercial farmers and help to connect them to markets of their products, we urge you to enter cooperatives and PDM SACCOs to benefit from ready markets,” Kazibwe said.
Farmers expressed worry over the increasing number of fake agricultural pesticides on market and called on the concerned authorities to do something about it.
Fred Mugiri, the chairperson Mpigi district farmers association (MPIFA), said fake pesticides have caused farmers losses.
Robert Kasujja, a farmer from Kituntu sub-county, asked the district authorities and NEMA to stop the destruction of wetlands in the sub-county by sand miners, which he believes has had a great impact on the climatic changes in the area.