Irrigation schemes should be a priority

Nyagatare district had projected to harvest close to 90,000 tonnes of maize this season. However, after experiencing long dry spells, the harvest is expected to drop by 20 per cent.

Nyagatare district had projected to harvest close to 90,000 tonnes of maize this season. However, after experiencing long dry spells, the harvest is expected to drop by 20 per cent.

While determining the drought periods or how long they last may be complicated, there are available technologies that minimize the effects of drought and irrigation is pre-eminent among them.

With irrigation schemes, famers are assured of good harvests and this translates into guarantees for National food security and poverty alleviation in rural areas.

Setting up these schemes may be an expensive, but a worthwhile investment. The farmers should be encouraged to contribute towards construction of the irrigation facilities.

Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, can take the lead since irrigation requires high level expertise and large investments; however, maintenance of the facilities will require input from the farmers.

If the agriculture sector is to meet the food demand of a growing population, in the presence of looming water scarcity, irrigation through small-scale schemes must be encouraged.

And, with the government succeeding in Land consolidation, the improved farm size would, without doubt, facilitate the installation of small-scale irrigation.

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