The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has commended the team from Makerere University led by Prof Banadda for innovating a solar powered irrigation system which will be used by small scale farmers in Uganda.

The system will be used by farmers operating on a 2-5 hectare pieces of land and it will be run on a solar energy system of 100 watts.

pm-rugunda-poses-for-a-group-photo-with-some-of-the-project-team-members-and-other-officials-from-opm-on-pms-l-is-prof-ezra-suruma-and-r-is-prof-banadda-the-lead-project-manager-photo-by-pmpu

PM Rugunda poses for a group photo with some of the project team members and other officials from OPM. On PM’s (L) is Prof Ezra Suruma and (R) is Prof Banadda, the Lead Project Manager (Photo by PMPU)

The system was demonstrated to the Prime Minister by the Lead Project manager, Prof Banadda of Makerere University and his team at the office of the Prime Minister in Kampala.

The Premier commended the initiative, highlighting that it is highly welcome by government as it responds to country’s need to solve the disastrous challenges of climate change which have affected the entire nation with consequences such as drought and famine.

He noted that the challenges of drought in the nation can be solved by use of fertilizers and irrigation in the agricultural sector adding that the system will be helpful in solving the latter need.

This system is an answer to the challenges of climate change and as Government therefore, we shall do all we can to support it,” the Prime Minister said.

Rugunda said Government has set aside an innovation fund to boost scientific and technological innovations and capacity building in the country especially in the agricultural sector which is the backbone of the country’s economy.

PM Rugunda meeting the solar powered irrigation system project team from Makerere University with other officials at the Office of the Prime Minister(Photo by PMPU)

PM Rugunda meeting the solar powered irrigation system project team from Makerere University with other officials at the Office of the Prime Minister(Photo by PMPU)

He thus asked the team to operationalise the system as soon as possible so that it can be utilised by the people for irrigation.

Dr Rugunda however recommended for the reduction of the price of the system which currently costs Uganda shillings 6.5 million so that even the low income earners can be able to purchase it.

PM Rugunda tries out using the system outside the office of the prime minister during the project demonstration. He is being assisted by the lead Project Manager, Prof Banadda (Photo by PMPU)

PM Rugunda tries out using the system outside the office of the prime minister during the project demonstration. He is being assisted by the lead Project Manager, Prof Banadda (Photo by PMPU)

The lead Project Manager, Prof Banadda, of Makerere University said the solar powered irrigation system includes a pump, solar panel, battery, connector, storage container and tubes.

He explained that the system has the capacity to pump water at a distance of 45-60 meters from the water source horizontally, and 8 meters vertically.

He further explained that the system has a number of advantages to be enjoyed by the farmer including its portability which enables the farmers to share it among themselves and also eases storage.

The system is also flexible and it enables the operator to use it for drip irrigation or sprinkling.

Prof Banadda however cautioned the irrigation system users not to over strain the pump’s pressure beyond its limit because it can go off automatically if strained.

Ends. By Doreen Nasasira