Water Harvesting to Rescue Farmers from Fluctuating Prices

By Kirega A

The major problems faced by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and most specifically in Uganda are a result of over dependence on natural conditions and “Gods mercy” in determining the fate of the quantity and  quality of their produce most especially rain.

This is the main reason behind highly fluctuating agricultural commodity prices with very low –  farmer discouraging prices during the rainy seasons when supply exceeds demand and in the dry seasons  where the supply of agricultural commodities tends to be very low as compared to demand  fetching relatively higher prices as demand exceeds supply.

Water harvesting is the solution. It may be expensive for a local farmer to afford expensive water tanks and water from the roof tops may not be enough due to competing domestic uses like washing, drinking and Bathing among others.

Make ditches that are as wide as a well in the middle of your garden and make trenches following water run ways to direct water to the ditch. You may use any material that can help to keep the water in the ditch for a long time; if possible you can cement it. You will use this water in the rainy season to irrigate you crops during the dry season.

Also make other small ditches that will keep water for some time enabling it to go into the soil other than just running off hence causing soil erosion. This will not only help to save the water but also the soil hence a good soil conservation practice for a more profitable farming.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by pamela levira on May 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

    hallo Kirega.
    Thanks for your good article on rain water harvesting to benefit agriculture. this is a good idear but im wondering if it will be applicable nowdays with this climate change world. as the air temperature is getting warmer and warmer , nowdays evaporation is higher than precipitation. and most of the water in many great dams are lost is this ways. it have been reveals recently even making good dam is very expensive and is not a solution to farmers who can not afford to build her/ his own water reservour. hence its a bit challenge. thinks about that. countries like australia have realized making dams is no longer a good solution and they are no longer funding dam projects. nowdays they are concentration more on water recycling project and sustainable utilization of water to minimize the impacts of climate change in our community. i hope you will share some of my experience in water management. thank you


    • In Africa we don’t have many recycling projects yet and also farmers cannot afford it. They may need something they can do and sustain on their own and i think the ditches may work well.

      Water recycling will then wait for more funds……


      • Dear Pamela, you mentioned a very important thing – climatic change as evaporation exceeds precipitation now days the very reason we need an “artificial” method of keeping the water in the soil especially in areas that do not have an adequate water supply, areas which do not have that technology to use in water recycling, poor economies in which a majority of the people that can not afford to build septic tanks, buy pumps, and even treating the recycled water.
        The good thing is that most African countries like Uganda are gifted with a good climate with rainfall at least equally distributed through the year in most parts of the region unlike countries like Australia whose climate varies widely and whose largest part is is desert or semi-arid –with 40% of the landmass is covered by sand dunes.
        The idea there fore still applies and works today although it should not be taken as a one size fits all.
        Note that the small ditches are just dug in the ground which traps run off water. This reduces the impact of soil erosion and allows for easier and deeper penetration of water into the soil which will keep it in there for a longer time. It is however important to make efforts to reduce water evaporation from the soil using methods such as mulching, planting crops that cover the soil on addition to water harvesting.

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