While Uganda has always had a tropical climate with predictable rainfall patterns, the effects of climate change are beginning to bite. The changing rainfall patterns coupled with the recent prolonged dry spells are evidence that the Pearl of Africa is beginning to experience significant climate change. This has tremendously impacted farmers.
Considering the climate change effects on farmers, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity, a five-year intervention that seeks to increase incomes and improve the livelihood of households through agriculture-led inclusive economic growth, has partnered with Water and Pumps International Limited (WPIL), a Uganda based business dealing in solar and water solutions. The partnership will increase farmers’ access to affordable irrigation kits while linking farmers to off-taking markets, and ultimately increasing their production.
With support from FtF IAM, WPIL has established a robust network of Community Agro-Input Agents (CAAs) to activate and drive demand for small-scale irrigation kits as well as offer after-sale services (training, monitoring and equipment servicing) within farmer communities. WPIL has also developed business relationships with Equity bank and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) to enable the uptake of small-scale irrigation kits on credit, at an interest rate of 18% per annum.
Rehema Namatovu, a commercial farmer in Isingiro district, is one of the farmers who have benefitted from this intervention. Rehemah, who previously thought irrigation was very expensive and unaffordable to smallholder farmers like her, has managed to access a small-scale irrigation kit on credit from WPIL which is less labor intensive and has greatly enhanced her farm yields. “Before I got an irrigation kit from Water and Pumps, I used to walk for long distances to get water for my garden and the water would never be enough. As such, my plants would dry up. Today my plants look fresh even during the dry season because I water them with my irrigation kit.” Narrates Rehemah.
Author: Dorothy Nabatanzi for FtF IAM.