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Residents Team Up to Save Mubuku Irrigation Scheme

Henry Mutabazi, the Sebwe zone LC I Chairperson, who also doubles as Sebwa Water User’s Association Chairperson, says they formed the association to advocate for the restoration of the river because of degradation.
Farmers and other workers at one of the Maize stores at Mubuku

Audio 5

Local communities have teamed up with the management of Mubuku Irrigation Scheme in Kasese district to save River Sebwe, the main source of water to the scheme. 

The water in the river has been dwindling because of pollution and degradation resulting from human activities including sand mining, agriculture and dumping. Several trees near the river banks have been cut down leading to silting of the river due to erosion. 

However, there is a ray of hope as the communities especially in the middle steam have embarked on a campaign to restore the river. The residents who directly benefit from the river have started planting trees along the river banks. 

Henry Mutabazi, the Sebwe zone LC I Chairperson, who also doubles as Sebwa Water User’s Association Chairperson, says they formed the association to advocate for the restoration of the river because of degradation. Mutabazi says they have opened nursery beds that are distributing tree seedlings to farmers and other community members to plant along the river. 

The same group is now erecting a fence to eliminate cultivation along the river.   

//Cue in: “We are trying… 

 

Cue out: …over the banks.”// 

 

Mutabazi says the trees are considered are a key component in aiding the formation of rainfall largely needed by farmers. Charles Nyamutale, the Chairperson Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association is also one of those involved in the drive to save River Sebwe. 

Nyamutale says they have already fenced off 10km of the river bank in Nyamuhoko 1, Kirongo and Rwakirugu villages. Nyamutale says they have also planted 8350 Bamboo trees along the river to prevent possible soil erosion in case of heavy rains. 

He says despite the heavy intervention needed, they are on course to save Mubuku irrigation scheme.    

//Cue in: with this intervention…   

Cue out: … work is yet to be done.”// 

Nyamutale says that they also raising awareness on sustainable land management practices. Elizabeth Nyamata, a farmer at Mubuku Irrigation Scheme, says she has participated in the planting of trees along the banks because Mubuku scheme has been instrumental in her life.

Lawrence Tibesigwa Kafuuzi, the Officer in charge Mubuku Irrigation Scheme, says due to the recent threats, they have also been involved in planting bamboo trees on part of the river to save guard it from destruction.

He notes that they are teaming up with farmers to protect the river banks through capacity building and planting trees along the banks. Under these initiative farmers, are allocated portions of land where they plant trees.  

//Cue in: “The government is trying…   

Cue out: …Mubuku irrigation scheme.”// 

However, Tibesigwa is worried that this initiative is only taking place mid-stream while the upper stream remains under threat. 

//Cue in: “Our farmers here… 

Cue out: …are the users.”// 

Johnstone Sabuni Mwesige, the Kasese Senior Agriculture Officer, who is also in charge of coordinating issues of irrigation schemes in the district, says community interventions are starting to yield fruits. Sabuni notes that with its benefits across all levels, the district is determined to raise awareness and team up with residents to save its main water tributary. 

 

//Cue in: “As a district we… 

Cue out: … of seed companies.”// 

Mubuku was established by government as a settlement scheme in the 1956 with the aim of providing agricultural facilities to absorb rural people to earn a descent livelihood.  The scheme covers over 2000 hectares of land. 516 hectares of land access its waters for irrigation from River Sebwe.