KAMPALA —Uganda is an agriculture-based country. The agricultural sector provides a livelihood to over 75% of Uganda’s population. In fact, the sector contributes 26% to the country’s GDP.
However, the agricultural sector needs proper irrigation facilities and other amenities to reap proper benefits. The major constraint in this sector is farmers’ dependency on pumps for irrigation. Most of the farmers use pumps some of which are connected to the grid while some pumps run on diesel and other fossil fuels.
Another issue in this sector is related to the plight of farmers. Since some of the crops are seasonal, most of the farmers are deprived of a regular source of income. Furthermore, farmers are not being able to earn anything from their dry/uncultivated land. Solar energy can be put to good use to address these critical issues of the agriculture sector.
Solar energy is one of the most vital renewable sources of energy that can be utilized for various purposes. Solar energy is widely being adopted in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors and it has huge potential to benefit the agriculture sector. So, with an endeavour to offer financial and water security to farmers, the Ugandan government is set to launch various schemes to promote the installation of grid-connected solar power plants and solar pumps.
The Government through the ministry of water and environment contracted Nexus Green Limited to Design Supply and Install Solar Powered Irrigation and Water Supply Systems at 687 sites across the country utilising financing from the UK Export Finance over a three-year period.
According to available information, a typical system shall comprise a water source, transmission pipeline, pumping to storage tanks with solar energy, distribution networks and for irrigation systems, an on-farm irrigation system network will be commissioned on Friday to at Mpumu in Mukono District.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday October 7, 2021, Jude Wegoya, Head Legal at Nexus Green Ltd, said the project envisages benefitting the youth and women majorly as they are the groups usually tasked with fetching water.
He said the project will empower such categories economically through increased production from irrigated growth of high-value crops. Additionally, he added, the project will create more jobs in the agricultural sector as a result of accessibility to water for irrigation.
Solar Powered Irrigation Systems
Solar Powered Irrigation Systems is using solar energy for irrigation. Panels, pumps and irrigation systems are designed on the basis of water availability and local crop water requirements.
“Through this project we will now produce enough food even during dry seasons since the Solar Power works even better during those times. Livelihoods will improve since this project will create self-reliance by creating means to earn income,” Wegoya added.
President Museveni has previously categorically highlighted the importance of solar-powered water pumps to drive the economy of the country.
He has identified the dynamism of change not only in the agricultural sector but climate. Despite heads up on the coming of early rains, the showers of blessings have not been adequate to facilitate the growth of the crops in the country.