Denmark to support Ugandan farmers to adopt climate smart practices, access to Scandinavian market

Ugandan farmers have been urged to adopt to resilient climate change practices (PHOTO/Musa Mbogo )

KAMPALA – The Danish Ministry of Internal Affairs has joined hands with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) to provide Smart irrigation solutions to help Uganda’s smallholder farmers adapt to climate change challenges.

Working through a consortium, partners including the EAGC and the DANIDA Green Business Partnership Program (DGBP) engaged Ugandan smallholder farmer groups and shared views on how best they can benefit from this project.

EAGC Executive Director, Mr Gerald Masila said this project will provide water from rivers, dams, and lakes to supplement when there is erratic rainfall.

Mr Masila said that unlike other projects where the equipment and technologies are given for free and end up with zero progress, this project is different in a way that it is a commercial solution for farmers.

“We are starting by developing a business plan for the farmer and in that business plan, we are factoring in the cost of acquiring the irrigation facility or equipment and the production or the product that will be produced with an off-taker who is already identified and whom we already know the price that they are going to pay.” He said.

The executive director noted that EAGC arranged the cycle in a way that with this business plan, they’re going to be the equipment supplier, releaser of financier and there will be the off-taker of the product that will be produced using the irrigation.

“When you get the loan to get the equipment, you will produce the output you will sell to the out-taker who is already been pre-identified at a price that will be already pre-agreed,” Masila added.

EAGC Executive Director explained that the Project is looking at the entire country not limiting certain regions.

EAGC Executive Director, Mr Gerald Masila said this project will provide water from rivers, dams, and lakes to supplement when there is erratic rainfall (PHOTO/Musa Mbogo)

“We’re looking at the entire country and we will be evaluating specific areas where you can produce the high-value crops and out that would have a good market price that would be able to give the kind of income required that ability to not only repay the loan, but also give a good return back to the farmer.” He explained.

The project will run for three and a half years and it is supported and financed by the Danish Ministry of Internal Affairs with USD 1.5 million about UGX. 5.5 billion budget.

Mr John McNay, the advisor of Access to Innovation, a Danish NGO noted that due to changes in climate both globally and the East African region, that lead to crop failure, he thinks access to irrigation is going to be a key factor moving forward.

“Not just for the high-value crops, but we may also need them in the lower-value crops, but to begin with, the entry point is to be able to do planned production. So instead of just selling seasonally, you’re able to produce all year round, because when there’s no natural rainfall, you can use irrigation.” He added.

He further explained that the investment is not subsidizing the cost of irrigation but subsidizing the systems to support value chain actors in those various value chains.

Engineer Joshua Enyetu,l from Akvo International speaking to journalists said Akvo brings light to the farmers on the importance of irrigation and provides training to them before they put across the demand.

“In this project, we advise the farmer rises in need depending on the knowledge we have given them, and so they’re able to make an order for what they want, depending on the knowledge that we have given them.” He said.

Enyetu added that during this project, they’re going to train the technicians and support the farmers’ operation installation and help them make good use of irrigation which is to improve production and productivity.

The three-year project will be implemented by Eastern Africa Grain Council (Uganda), Grundfos (Denmark), Akvo International (Uganda), and Access to Innovation (Denmark) with support from the Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) under the DANIDA Green Business Partnership Program (DGBP).

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