By Patrick Okino
The State Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, has told leaders of Otuke District that they should help farmers access irrigation technology through available government programs rather than joining them in complaining about that lack of access.
“The government policy is very clear about irrigation, and the government’s understanding is also clear that we can no longer support or come out of agriculture in the manner we are doing without irrigation,” Kwiyucwiny said.
She was on Friday, September 15, speaking at the commissioning of a business and governance centre constructed in the district under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) and funded by the European Union through the United Nations Capital Development Fund.
Otuke East MP, Julius Acon, raised concern that the area had since been hit by a prolonged drought that has badly affected production.
Jasper Okengo, the district National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson, who benefitted from a tractor under the DINU program, also raised similar concerns, saying that though he helped over 1000 farmers to plough their gardens, they experienced a lengthy dry spell and that production was low.
“We cannot continue complaining like this as if we are not leaders. The government policy is clear on this and we cannot wait,” Kwiyucwiny added.
She said people are crying about the lack of an irrigation scheme yet the government has been talking about it for a long time and she doesn’t know if up to next year, they will still complain about the lack of irrigation technology.
“Please take this as a challenge because next time I visit at least show me two farmers you have connected to get irrigation schemes whether small or big because we cannot continue in the manner as if we are not leaders,” she added.
She also said she had an opportunity to travel to Italy where they focus on fruits and vegetables growing like apples, cabbages and Irish potatoes then realised that those people direct a lot of efforts on a few crops to support their country.