BY BANKERS REPORTER
Nexus Green Limited launched the first solar-powered irrigation and water supply system in Ntanzi Parish, Ntenjeru sub country in Mukono district.
The Mpumu project is one of the 687 irrigation sites that Nexus was contracted to design and install at different sites across the country by the government.
The 687 which is hoped to be completed in a three year period is being supported by counterpart financing from the United Kingdom Export Finance and the government. The UK government has given Uganda 90 million Euro loan or approximately sh372 billion for this project.
Each of the planned sites will comprise a water source, transmission pipeline, storage tanks of 87,000 litres, distribution networks for irrigation, and on-farm irrigation system network.
Farmers in Mpumu village, Ntenjeru sub-county in Mukono district have appealed for financial support from the government to enable them to upgrade to commercial farming so as to benefit from the multi-million solar water project in their area.
Beatrice Anwyar, the state minister for Environment, commissioned the first solar-powered irrigation scheme in Mukono district.
Hon. Rikki Verma, the Nexus Green CEO, says the scheme can support over 30 farmers with five acres each. However, several farmers noted that whereas the irrigation scheme has been established in their area, they lack the financial capacity to venture into commercial farming.
Gladys Ndagire, one of the farmers, notes that the project is important since they have been making losses because of crops failure during the prolonged dry spells.
“Last season, all my maize died after spending a lot of resources and labour. We never received rain so we were fetching water to irrigate these crops.
“We could only plant and pray to God. But I think the irrigation system now gives us hope because we can now plant from January to December and be sure about our earnings,” she said.
She says that although the government has provided a solution to the prolonged dry spell, they will need financial support to upgrade to commercial farming.
Alfred Okot Okidi, the permanent secretary for the ministry of Water and Environment, says that the installation of the schemes will take three years. He says farmers will run the plants using between 20 to 30 % of the profits from their farm produce.
Additional reporting by URN