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Mega solar-powered irrigation to beat climate change, improve fortunes of farmers in Mukono

Nexus Green is a company that specializes in designing, supplying, manufacturing, and delivering affordable solar-powered solutions that reduce carbon emissions.

Nexus Green is a company that specializes in designing, supplying, manufacturing, and delivering affordable solar-powered solutions that reduce carbon emissions.

Residents of Ntanzi Parish, Ntenjeru Sub County, in Mukono district have a reason to smile to and from their communal farm after they became the first beneficiaries in their district, of the solar-powered irrigation system from the government through the ministry of water and environment.

The much-anticipated project will officially be commissioned on Friday, October 7, 2021.

The government through Nexus Green Limited will install additional 687 solar Powered Irrigation and Water Supply Systems across the country utilizing financing from the UK Export Finance over a three-year period.

The irrigation system, which uses energy from the sun and therefore eliminates farmers’ challenges with access to reliable electricity or fossil fuels, has the capacity to irrigate up to 10 acres of land and pump larger volumes of water on hot days, when the crops and animals need water the most.

The system will reduce energy costs for irrigation and this improves many farmers’ access to water and can have knock-on effects on agricultural productivity and incomes.

According to Jude Wegoya of Nexus Green Ltd, the solar system is a great fit with irrigation because on sunny days when plants need water most, the solar-powered irrigation systems provide the required volumes to match the crop requirements

He said that the project envisages benefitting the youth and women majorly as they are the groups usually tasked with fetching water.

He added the project will empower such categories economically through increased production from irrigated growth of high-value crops. Additionally, he added, the project will create more jobs in the agricultural sector as a result of accessibility to water for irrigation.

Uganda is an agriculture-based country. The agricultural sector provides a livelihood to over 75% of Uganda’s population. In fact, the sector contributes 26% to the country’s GDP.

However, the agricultural sector needs proper irrigation facilities and other amenities to reap proper benefits. The major constraint in this sector is farmers’ dependency on pumps for irrigation. Most of the farmers use pumps some of which are connected to the grid while some pumps run on diesel and other fossil fuels.

Another issue in this sector is related to the plight of farmers. Since some of the crops are seasonal, most of the farmers are deprived of a regular source of income. Furthermore, farmers are not being able to earn anything from their dry/uncultivated land. Solar energy can be put to good use to address these critical issues of the agriculture sector.

Solar energy is one of the most vital renewable sources of energy that can be utilized for various purposes. Solar energy is widely being adopted in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors and it has huge potential to benefit the agriculture sector. So, with an endeavour to offer financial and water security to farmers, the Ugandan government is set to launch various schemes to promote the installation of grid-connected solar power plants and solar pumps.

President Museveni has previously categorically highlighted the importance of solar-powered water pumps to drive the economy of the country.

He has identified the dynamism of change not only in the agricultural sector but climate. Despite heads up on the coming of early rains, the showers of blessings have not been adequate to facilitate the growth of the crops in the country.

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