…describes current approach as flawed
The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) is calling on government to change the implementation model of the One Village, One Dam programme, noting that the current system of constructing small dams in farming villages has failed to deliver on irrigating farms all year round.
Edward Kawere, General Secretary of GAWU, in an interview with the B&FT noted that the best way to execute the 1V1D plan and ensure farms get regular and reliable water for irrigation throughout the season is to construct huge dams in strategic locations to store water in a condition that ensures its availability all year around, and supply to the various communities which would need the water for farming.
“What we needed was to have big dams so that you can link those dams to even longer distances, and that are sustainable for the future. So, when government came out to say they are going to develop the Pwalugu irrigation dam, we said that is what government should have thought of doing a long time ago. That is what the farmers want, and it is a more sustainable way to ensure an all-year-round water supply,” he said.
Describing government’s approach to 1V1D as poor and a defeat of the intention behind the policy, GAWU stressed that as much as farmers need water for irrigation and agriculture purposes, they do not necessarily need a dam in every village.
“We made that clear because they need water for farming, so you have to devise a means to get them constant water and not necessarily build a dam in every village to give them water. Dams are different from dugouts; for dams you need a certain acreage and modalities which qualify it to be a dam.
“It is also about what you want to use the water for. That should guide you in constructing a dam. The aim of government is to build a dam for the purpose of irrigation; the system of irrigation we use here is flooding the whole plot of land with water; so, many a time a lot of the water goes to waste.
“Therefore, we have come to realise that the small dugouts are not able to hold water during the rainy season; they will burst out. So far, many of these kinds of dugouts have been constructed and are not serving the purpose they were set up for.
“It is causing disaffection in the communities, because they say money was pumped into it but it has not served them well. We hope government listens to us, and begins constructing big dams and connecting them to farming communities to better serve the agriculture sector,” Mr. Kawere intimated.