Uganda: Rice Irrigation Machines Remain Idle for 19 Years

26.10.2016

Two irrigation machines costing Shs100m are lying idle at Mahyoro Sub-county in Kamwenge District 19 years after they were donated by President Museveni.

The machines were donated during the 1996 general election to boost rice production in the area.

At the time of the donation, Mahyoro was still part of Kabarole District.

Farmers who were then engaged in small-scale rice production asked the President for irrigation machines so that their crops would survive dry spells.

According to the irrigation project, water would be drawn from the nearby Lake George to water the rice.

However, the machines have never been used as such, the farmers have also abandoned rice growing for potatoes, sugarcane and cotton.

"The machines have never been fixed in the cultivation area for farmers to irrigate their crops off the shores of Lake George," Mr Innocent Katuramu, a farmer in Mahyoro, said.

Past and current leaders in the area have been blamed for not installing the machines.

The LC3 chairperson, Mr Juma Kahero, said by the time the machines were donated, farmers were not trained on how to use them.

Dr Fabius Byaruhanga, the then area MP and State Minister for Agriculture, said farmers had picked interest in rice growing but suffered prolonged droughts.

He urged current leaders in the district to make necessary budget allocations to put the machines to use in order to save farmers.


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