Irrigation in the Nile Basin

Irrigation areas in Uganda

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Agriculture dominates the Ugandan economy. The average cropped area in a given year is estimated at 9,700 ha with a cropping intensity of about 80%t. Over 80% of the irrigation area gets water from Victoria Nile. Main crops cultivated are sugarcane, rice and vegetables. The total estimated total annual irrigation water demand is 260 MCM. Irrigation is a relatively new as rainfall has been more or less sufficient in the past. Most parts of the country experience at least one long rainy season and this has been sufficient for farmers to produce at least one crop a year. In the past, irrigation was only practiced during the dry season at small-scale informal level with most of this located on the fringes of swamps. Nowadays rainfall has become less reliable with supplementary irrigation needed in rain season at times and much of this has been developed by smallholders without planning and with little or no technical assistance. The technology used is basic and approaches are sometimes inappropriate.

Most smallholder schemes grow rice and vegetables, with the larger commercial estates cultivating rice and sugarcane. Most irrigation developments use surface methods although the more recent developments involving greenhouse irrigated flower farms that started in 1990s utilized drip and micro sprinkler.

Some work has started on the water for production component (WfP) for Uganda, but this has still a long way to go. An irrigation policy is in place. There is a strong need to clearly establish the needs for irrigation and drainage and the process by which it can be realized. This needs to go hand in hand with the training of technical staff to support any proposed interventions.


Ser No Scheme Name DISTRICT Equipped area (ha)
1 Nyamugasani Kasese 360
2 Mubuku Kasese 516
3 Olweny Lira 500
4 Lugazi Sugar Jinja 2000
5 Agoro Kitgum 130
6 Kakira Sugar Mukono 6800
7 Tilda Uganda (kibimba) Iganga 600
8 Doho Tororo 830
9 Total Roses Wakiso / Mukono 280
Total 12016
Drip irrigation in a flower farm in a green house in Entebbe, Uganda
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