On April 26, the GGGI Uganda team in partnership with the National Planning Authority (NPA) hosted a National Dialogue on solar powered irrigation in Kampala. The broad objective of the dialogue was to provide a platform for the various stakeholders to effectively reflect on the probable solar powered irrigation initiatives for improved productivity and production of the agricultural sector.
Specifically, the dialogue provided for opportunity to stakeholders to discuss intervention areas required to upscale solar powered irrigation in the country; allow for the identification and design a of appropriate energy solutions for promoting irrigation which shall contribute to sustainable and inclusive as well as creating green jobs; map out actors and their functions in promoting solar powered irrigation and finally, identifying potential partnerships, investment and funding/ financing opportunities.
The dialogue was attend by 30 participants from ministries, departments and Agencies of Government of Uganda, Academia (Makerere University), CSOs, Development Partners supporting the solar sub sector (GIZ and JICA), and actors from the private sector.
As a way forward, the stakeholders agreed that solar powered irrigation is key and there is need to provide appropriate solar irrigation systems in water stressed areas to stimulate production as well as developing a concept note, a process that will be led by GGGI and NPA. Moving forward, GGGI will continuously interact with several actors to find out about their supply chain, future opportunities, and so forth to; firstly, gain more knowledge about their supply chains as we further develop the concept note.
In Uganda, agriculture accounts for about a quarter of Uganda’s GDP and a great proportion of exports. The yield gaps range between 50-75% for many commodities and the uptake of improved seeds and fertilizers is quite low. Rain-fed agriculture is the dominant type across all agroecological zones through there are bimodal patterns in some districts. Currently, there’s 14.062mil ha of agricultural land available of which 6.9 Mil Ha is arable with 1.762 mil Ha under cereals and only 0.0734% of agriculture land irrigated.
The Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) is of relevance as it provides clarity of focus regarding 12 priority commodities and thus their respective supply chains. Demand exists for such commodities; nevertheless, the sector is marred by low levels of production and productivity, mainly driven by poor agronomic practices and the impacts of climate change.
Coordinating of green growth interventions will be in respect to Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) – 2015/16 to 2019/20, which focus on four priority areas: (a) increasing production and productivity; (b) addressing challenges in the selected thematic technical areas including critical farm inputs mechanization and water for agricultural production; (c)improving agricultural markets and value addition in the prioritized commodities; and, (d) institutional strengthening for agricultural development.
Uganda has recently launched a green growth strategy which unpacks key green growth issues contained in NDP II and Vision 2040 and provides the blue print for Uganda’s transition into a green economy. It highlights areas with the highest potential for green growth’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment, resource use efficiency, social inclusiveness and equity, as well as environmental sustainability. The UGGDS focuses on some key aspects that we intend to design solutions for sustainable energy with emphasis on greening the energy mix to include solar and wind, efficiency in use and ensuring equity in access to energy have been put as priorities for greening Uganda’s economy.