Micro Scale Irrigation Program
The Micro-scale Irrigation Program supports farmers to purchase and use individual irrigation equipment. The Program supports farmers in purchasing the irrigation equipment through a matching grant scheme, in which the cost of the equipment is co-financed by the farmer and the government.
The Program caps the support to 2.5 acres (1 hectare), thus it is expected to benefit mainly smallholder farmers interested to transition from mainly subsistence to more commercial agriculture. In addition, the farmer receives complementary services such as extension support in irrigated agriculture. Introduction of irrigation will help smallholder farmers grow crops all year. Farmers will be able to cope with dry spells, produce during the dry season, transition to higher value crops, such as horticultural crops and coffee, and hit the market when prices are more advantageous.
Micro-scale irrigation is when a farmer irrigates a small plot. For example, a farmer can use a pump to take water from a nearby stream, and a hose to distribute the water in the plot. The Micro-scale Irrigation Program is led by the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure Mechanization and Water for Agricultural Production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF).
The Micro-scale Irrigation Program is in line with Uganda’s National Irrigation Policy which aims to create 1.5 million hectares of irrigated land by the year 2040.
The role of the private sector in the successful implementation of this program is key. In particular:
Irrigation equipment suppliers: LGs will be procuring the irrigation equipment after farmers’ successful application to the program.
Financial Institutions: As farmers will need to finance part of the irrigation equipment, they might need to access loans to provide their contribution.
Value Chain Actors: With higher and more diversified production, farmers will need to better commercialize their produce.
The Micro-scale Irrigation Program is part of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Reform Program (IFTRP) and supported by the World Bank through the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Program (UgIFT).
The Cost Sharing Arrangement of the Program
Through the Micro Scale Irrigation Program, Government will help farmers to pay for the irrigation equipment. With the cost depending on the nature of the farm (closeness to water source, terrain of the land, soil suitability, acreage to be irrigated, etc) and the varying prices of irrigation equipment, Government will pay between 25% and 75% of the total cost of the irrigation equipment, but with a maximum contribution of 7.2 million Shillings per acre.
This implies that the farmer may pay between 2 million and 8 million Shillings per acre depending on the nature of the farm and the irrigation equipment that they choose.