(From left to right)Former president of Uganda National farmers federation, Charles Ogang interacts with the agriculture minister, Ssempijja (centre) as deputy ambassador netherlands Joris Van Bommel looks on during the joint agricultural sector annual review at Speke Resort Munyonyo on 28th August 2018. Photo by Juliet Kasirye
Ssempijja told the forum that about 68% of Ugandan farmers are still in subsistence farming and only 20% of farmland in Uganda is irrigated yet 15% of Uganda’s surface area comprises of water bodies.
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja has called on development partners who recently attended the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali to help Uganda get simple and affordable technologies that farmers can use to irrigate their pieces of land.
Ssempijja told the forum that about 68% of Ugandan farmers are still in subsistence farming and only 20% of farmland in Uganda is irrigated yet 15% of Uganda's surface area comprises of water bodies.
He added that much as the ministry is encouraging farmers to go for quality seeds and use fertiliser to increase productivity, it is imperative to complement these efforts with irrigation.
"We cannot depend on rainfall only. Plants simply need water. We need irrigation technologies which are affordable and usable by small scale farmers because Uganda is ready to embrace small scale irrigation technologies," said Ssempijja.
He added that during climate stressed seasons, farmers' crops are usually hit by floods and drought which affect productivity.
Ssempijja made the remarks during the Farmer -led Irrigation Development session on Wednesday, that focused on farmer led irrigation for small holder farming enterprises with a view to articulating an African Wide Vision for its development.
"So through this forum, we can forge partnerships with those with more experience in designing irrigation technologies that can be easily operated by small holder farmers," he added.
This year's meeting was run under the theme enabling new pathways to turn small holders into sustainable agribusinesses and as organised by the Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) founded by the late Kofi Annan in 2006 with a call for a uniquely African green revolution to ensure that Africa can feed itself.
Dr. John Jagwe, AGRA's Country Manager for Uganda, said that AGRA will continue to support Uganda through the promotion of technologies that meet specific needs of the agricultural sector in Uganda.
He added that this is being done through capacity building of the agriculture ministry, supporting systems development in agro-inputs, extension services and inclusive finance with climate change resilience and building strategic partnerships for catalysing transformation of Uganda's agricultural Sector.
Over the last decade, AGRA has invested over $31.4 m (about sh11.5b) in Uganda and contributed to sector development with focus on strengthening public institutions with human capacities necessary to drive the sector technological needs to improve yields while supporting private sector and other institutions to deliver services to farmers.