Amuru Leaders Panic as Residents Threaten to Reject UGX 70 Billion Irrigation Project

Leaders in Amuru district are panicking following threats by residents to reject the construction of a 70 billion shillings irrigation scheme.

Government through the Ministry of Water and Environment is to construct giant water dams in Opara, Patiko, Pabbo and Attiak Sub Counties. The dams are a response to drought that has affected food security.

But John Bosco Ocan, the Attiak Sub County LCV Councilor, says residents of Attiak from Abongo Rwot and Oloyo Mung parishes have threatened to reject the project.

Ocan says the locals claim the move is a ploy to grab their land. Locals in May this year block a team from the ministry from conducting a feasibility study at the project area.

The Attiak LC3 Chairman explained that the threat of rejection of the dams is a big blow to the district whose population depend on agriculture for livelihood and food.

Christopher Odongkara, the Pabbo Sub County LC3 chairperson who oversees Opara Sub County adds that his community is equally opposed to most government projects thinking they are tricks to grab land.

Michael Lakony, the Amuru district LCV chairperson says the district may lose dam the project if the community mindset is not changed on its[dams] benefits.

Lakony said the district in partnership with the ministry of lands housing and urban development and  the ministry of water and energy plans to take communities in the project area for a tour at Agoro Irrigation Scheme in Lamwo district.

Lakony believes that this will change the mind-set of the people to realise the importance of the project because it will be owned by the community.

Irrigation farming in Uganda is majorly associated with large scale schemes for crops like rice or sugarcanes; majority of Ugandan farmers rely on rainfall to water their land.

Ugandan climate is changing, and droughts are becoming more frequent according to Ugandan meteorologists.

President Yoweri Museveni during this year`s State of Nation Address said that the Amuru-Pabbo Irrigation scheme feasibility studies were complete.

He emphasized that irrigation schemes in the country will boost the Agriculture sector including the popularization use of fertilisers to ensure increased productivity.