ZOMBO. The ministry of water and environment under water for production has commissioned a pilot sprinkler irrigation system in Ugudu village, Atyak sub-county in Zombo district.
The 20-acre solar powered small scale irrigation scheme worth shs750m was handed over to the district on Tuesday during a function held in Ugudu village.
During the function, at least seven farmer groups with over 90 members were streamlined to manage the scheme.
The different farmer groups using the facility will have to part with 20 per cent of their proceeds from which 10 per cent go for maintenance of the system and the other 10 per cent for investment.
Drawing its water from Ora river, some of the horticultural crops being grown using the small scale irrigation scheme include; cabbages, green pepper, watermelon, onions and tomatoes.
Mr Erick Ochan, the manager water for production in the ministry said during the commissioning that the pilot irrigation system seeks to demonstrate modern agricultural practices and encourage sustainable management of water sources.
He said apart from offering employment opportunities to the locals, the project will also increase food security and nutrition.
Ochan assured the gathering that the ministry of water and environment will continue skilling the farmers in good agronomic practices and also avail a storage facility for agricultural produce as well as linking farmers to better markets.
“Even though we are handing over the facility today, that does not mean we have completely abandoned it. We shall be offering more technical assistance and capacity building,” he said.
The Zombo Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Mr Andrew Kajoyingi, who was the chief guest said the love people have shown for the project should be seen in proper maintenance and usage of the facility.
According to Kajoyingi, Zombo has the potential to reach the middle-income status given its fertile soil that supports all forms of agricultural practices.
“I always tell visitors who come to my office that Zombo has the potential to reach the middle-income status if its resources are well tapped because we grow all the horticultural crops which have faster returns,” the RDC said.
Mr John Birombo Orwiny, the Zombo district chairman commended the government of Uganda for establishing such a project in the district and added that it will go a long way to increase household income.
“I am extremely excited by what I have seen here because it is one, the vehicles to increase the household income that will at the end enable our people to take their children to school and meet other bills,” Orwiny stressed.
He appealed to the ministry of water and environment to consider widening the component of the project to include further water extension and road works among others.
Mr Richard Okethwengu, a model farmer and also the owner of the land on which the high-tech small scale irrigation scheme was established said some of the challenges affecting farmers in the area include; lack of a passable bridge on Ora river that connects Atyak sub-county to Logiri sub-county in Arua and lack of tractors to open large farmland among others.
“Agriculture is faced by a number of hindrances including climate change but I am happy this has been tackled meaning we shall now produce throughout the year,” Okethwengu said.
He also urged the district leadership to among others, drill a borehole at the facility to enable students and other people flocking the area for study tours access clean and safe drinking water.
The ministry of water and environment allocated at least two small scale irrigation schemes for Zombo district last financial year with the one located in Asada village, Zeu sub-county still under construction.