Government has set an aggressive campaign to mobilise resources for increasing investments in irrigation that would see improved agricultural productivity and markedly food supply.
The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, said that a meeting to mobilise resources is slated for December 7-8, 2009.
The Minister said that about 600 hectares are rehabilitated for irrigation across the country and studies are ongoing in Kirehe district in the Eastern Province.
“We have a big irrigation programme but it is not enough. The funds are still limited. We are aggressively mobilising for more resources from different sponsors,” she explained.
According to Kalibata, government has not set a specific amount of money to spend on irrigation activities but a sum of $50m through the Rural Sector Support Programme (RSSP) is allocated for irrigation.
Recently the State Minster for Environment and Mines, Vincent Karega, proposed policies of irrigation for agriculture, reforestation and Aforestation, clean energy, soil conservation, coast protection and green industrialisation to mitigate climate disorders.
Karega said this during the meeting in Maldives that gathered 11 most vulnerable countries to climate change.
The World Bank report on “Infrastructure in Africa” that was launched this month indicates that Africa is an agricultural continent, but its agricultural productivity is the lowest in the world.
The report stated that expansion of irrigated area has been slow. Over the last 40 years, only 4 million hectares of new irrigation have been developed compared to China’s 25 million hectares and India’s 32 million in the same period.
Irrigation could boost agricultural yields in water-rich Africa by 50 percent, but it now covers just 5 percent of cultivated land. With 5 percent of Africa’s cultivated land that is irrigated accounts for 20 percent of agricultural production, pointing the way to food security.
The same report suggests that 3.6 percent annual increase in investments in irrigation would triple the continent’s irrigated area, improving food supply and nutrition, taming inflation in food prices and slashing cereal imports.