By Anthony Kushaba
Ntungamo resident district commissioner Godfrey Mucunguzi has called on the farmers in the district to embrace agriculture that protects the environment.
The commissioner who was on Tuesday speaking at the handover of certificates to 31 farmers who participated in micro scale irrigation program from the financial year 2022/2023 in a function that was held at embassy hall in Ntungamo town.
Mucunguzi revealed that the country is having a challenge where by many farmers have resorted to planting eucalyptus in wetlands yet they are heavy water consumers thus depleting the environment.
Sam Muchunguzi the local council five chairperson commended farmers in the district for embracing irrigation and called on more farmers to follow suit saying that the move will boast production.
Ntungamo chief Administrative officer Mathias Ndifuna asked the farmers in the district to take advantage of the government efforts in ensuring that they improve on their production.
Earlier in the day, a team of district leaders, technocrats and farmers led by the local council five chairperson Sam Muchunguzi Rwakigoba visited some farmers who are beneficiaries of the micro-scale irrigation program in the district.
The farmers visited include John Friday from Akakoni village in Nyaburiza parish,Nyarutuntu sub county, Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe and from Kyamate and Keneth Tumwine from Rwencwera in Ruhooko –Ntungamo Municipality.
Ntungamo district production officer Albert Mugabe revealed that farmers have started embracing irrigation and says that this will boast commercialization through full time production instead of relying on weather.
Daniel Bwino the senior agriculture engineer for Ntungamo revealed that a total of 31 people have so far benefited from the program among them two seed schools. The schools in question are Rwoho seed school in Rwoho town council and Ruyonza seed school in Rubaare Sub County.
The Micro-scale Irrigation Program supports farmers in purchasing and using individual irrigation equipment. The Program supports farmers in purchasing irrigation equipment through a matching grant scheme, in which the cost of the equipment is co-financed by the farmer and the government.
The Program caps the support at 2.5 acres (1 hectare), so it is expected to benefit mainly smallholder farmers interested in transitioning from mainly subsistence to more commercial agriculture.
In addition, the farmer receives complementary services such as extension support in irrigated agriculture. The introduction of irrigation will help smallholder farmers grow crops all year.
Farmers will be able to cope with dry spells, produce during the dry season, transition to higher-value crops, such as horticultural crops and coffee, and hit the market when prices are more advantageous.
Micro-scale irrigation is when a farmer irrigates a small plot. For example, a farmer can use a pump to take water from a nearby stream and a hose to distribute the water throughout the plot.