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Since many of farmers in the country are practicing farming on small scale, it is essential to make irrigation technologies more accessible to them in order to increase their income through increased yields.
Agroking Uganda limited Experts say the country needs urgent investment in irrigation to increase resilience in the agricultural sector. To achieve this, a range of locally-adapted irrigation models are needed and this must be farmer-led to be successful and a tool to increase agricultural production for the growing agro-industry sector in the country.
“The ministry is encouraging farmers to get involved in farmer-led irrigation. We are looking at acquiring irrigation equipment, which can be offered to farmer groups at subsidized costs and we are going to sensitize the farmers by involving the extension service workers across the country. This will help in production throughout the year even during the dry spell,” there are abundant water resources in the country, including rainwater harvesting in underground water tanks, valley tanks, valley dams and natural water bodies.

it is important for farmers who are considering to engage in adopting irrigation technology to engage in commercial farming which is done on relatively large scale because the technology is expensive to operate, Agroking Uganda limited recommends farmers to carry out irrigation with good agronomy practices in order to realize the required yield. These include good seeding practices, proper land tillage, right time of planting, weeding and when to irrigate. Application of pesticides for pest and disease management.

What to consider
for farmers to adopt the technology, they must consider the type of crop under irrigation. The ministry is emphasizing horticulture crops, which include vegetables and fruit, herbal and spice plants and coffee.
These are high value crops out of which farmers are capable of fetching better income resources even during dry spells. Other factors to consider are water resource and the volume of water required, soil texture and type of irrigation to adopt.

Benefits
the various technologies can help small farmers improve their livelihoods by allowing for a more efficient use of inputs, such as water and fertilizer and by enhancing the yields and quality of the crops. This will involve efficient water use for more productively, larger farm areas by using the same amount of water for a relatively less area coverage. This helps in improving crop yields and quality through direct impacts, as well as indirect ones, such as decreased soil salinity, fewer attacks from pests and diseases and less weed competition.
In the presence of functioning markets and a favorable business environment, these changes in turn help generate higher incomes and better livelihoods for farmers. This helps farmers in vulnerable regions to adapt and strengthen their resilience to climate change.

Efficient irrigation reduces the amount of fertilizer needed per plant as nutrients can be dissolved in the irrigation water for uniform application, reduced waste and lower labour input. It also reduces energy use because less water is needed for a comparable area of irrigation, which in turn requires less energy for pumping this water. When automated, farmers are also easily and safely irrigating crops during times of fewer power disruptions.

Types of irrigation
When water supplies are adequate, irrigation can increase crop yield dramatically. Different irrigation systems are suited to different soils, climates, crops and resources. Below are the common types of irrigation farmers can adopt.
Drip irrigation is efficient for smallholder farmers, only that it is very expensive to install.

Sprinkler irrigation, which is in the form of downpour provided by sprinklers, is cost-effective for large chunks of land.

center pivot irrigation moves water on wheeled towers in a circular pattern.
Manual labour using watering cans is labor-intensive.

surface irrigation distributes water over and across land by gravity without mechanical pumps involved.

Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation, in a nutshell, is the process of lacing your garden area with irrigation lines that feed into the root systems of your plants, “dripping” water into them gradually.
This is a most efficient system because it allows farmers to directly hydrate plants without having to water the surface and because drip systems feed directly into the roots, they are much more efficient in their net water usage. The challenge is that it is expensive to install and requires regular maintenance, which may be costly

 

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