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Multi-million Irrigation Project Goes To Waste Over Maintenance

The lagoon that was dug to support the solar powered irrigation system in Kyamulibwa sub county, Kalungu district. The system is no longer serving its purpose

A solar-powered irrigation project, valued at Shillings 320 million, in Kyamulibwa sub-county, Kalungu district, has fallen into disrepair due to poor maintenance of its water equipment. The irrigation system was established in Busoga village through a partnership between the government of Uganda and the Food and Agricultural Organization-FAO.

Its primary goal was to benefit organized farmer groups in the region by enhancing productivity and allowing all-year-round farming. Unfortunately, just three and a half years after its setup, the once-promising project is now unable to fulfill its intended purpose.

Fredrick Ssenyondo, the Secretary of the Busoga Farmers Society and a direct beneficiary of the project reports that the irrigation system broke down within a year of installation and has never been fully repaired.

Initially, the irrigation system was equipped with a network of sprinklers and drip tubes designed to supply water to an area covering 23 acres. However, according to Ssenyondo, it now barely serves the needs of three farmers as much of the equipment has been damaged or stolen, leaving the irrigation system largely idle.

Members of the Busoga Horticulture Farmers Group, Polycarp Male, and Ponsiano Makanga, who were supposed to be among the primary beneficiaries, expressed dissatisfaction with the project. They pointed out that the irrigation system was fitted with weak and thin capillary tubes that could hardly serve its intended purpose. Repeated pleas to the district authorities to address the issues have been in vain, leading to the project’s unfortunate decline and earning it the nickname of a “white ghost.”

Paul Kiyemba, the Kalungu District Production Officer, acknowledges the non-functionality of the irrigation project. He attributes the current state of the project to a lack of sufficient budget for maintenance and equipment replacement.

Kiyemba, however, remains hopeful that notifying the Ministry of Water and Environment about the challenges will lead to assistance in restoring the system and revitalizing the project to serve its intended purpose once again.

-URN

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