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Ongole Valley Dam to Boost Agriculture in Uganda During Drought

Farming in Katakwi remains a challenge as a result of the drought. But plans to build a valley dam could change the fortune of many farmers.

Andrew Luke Ojikan swings his stick from side to side to get his four cows move in an orderly way down the lush fields of Usuk. He has brought them here to graze. Last year, the prolonged drought hit his cassava garden and greatly compromised water security for his animals.

Although he did not lose any of the cows, he says he had to travel long distances, sometimes more than seven kilometres, in search for water for his animals and for agriculture.

"I lost my cassava garden and resorted to buying cassava from local markets here. We have really suffered with the intense heat," Ojikan told The Observer in an interview.

The punishing drought is a predicament facing many other farmers in the district. This milieu has prodded ActionAid Uganda (AAU) into action, with the establishment of an irrigation scheme, to better prepare farmers for a future that is likely to be more difficult because of climate change. The five-year scheme, which started in 2011, was established under the Securing Food Rights project and is funded by Australian Aid.

Jan Truter

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