Markson Odongkara Labongo, the Superintendent of Agoro Self-Help Irrigation Scheme Cooperative Society Limited (ASHISCO) says that fences protecting the headwork and the main dam have all been brought down by community members.
Residents of Tegot Kwera South Village in Agoro Sub-county, Lamwo
District have been accused of vandalizing perimeter fences at Agoro irrigation
The government rehabilitated the irrigation scheme that sits on 1,675 hectares
of land in the area in 2013 at a tune of 27 Billion Shillings to boost crop
production during the dry season. The rehabilitation works also saw the erection
of perimeter fences at the main dam and the water intake at River Okura to keep
off locals from easily accessing the site.
However, years later, large sections of the perimeter fences that include wire
fences and concrete poles have been vandalized.
Markson Odongkara Labongo, the Superintendent of Agoro Self-Help Irrigation
Scheme Cooperative Society Limited (ASHISCO) says that fences protecting the
main dam have all been brought down by community members.
He says the fences were meant to limit access of locals to the irrigation
structures but notes that it's currently being accessed illegally by locals.
Labongo says many locals are currently illegally conducting sand
mining and fishing at the headwork of the irrigation scheme and the main dam
while others use it as dumping sites that are posing threats to the water
//cue in: “The main challenge…
Cue out:…is very harmful.”//
According to Labongo, their efforts to sensitize the community has landed on
deaf ears over the years adding that the locals have continued to pollute the
water which has, in turn, affected its quality for crop production.
//cue in: “We had been…
Cue out:…the head work.”//
Early this year, a section of farmers raised concerns that the water from the
irrigation scheme had become toxic and alleged that it was drying off their
Grace Acayo, a rice farmer at the irrigation site says that the water coming
out of the dam lacks nutrients and is warm which can’t support couldn’t support
the growth of rice.
She also noted that the design of the irrigation scheme was tampered with
during rehabilitation in 2013 which has left the farmers unable to access water
because of the depth of the water canals.
//cue in: “pii ma en…
Cue out:…cam idi poti.”//
But Odongkara says following concerns from the farmers, a team from the
Ministry of Agriculture last year visited the irrigation scheme and conducted a
test on the water quality but found nothing toxic as alleged by farmers.
//cue in: “That concern we…
Cue out:…in the dam.”//
Michael Odokonyero, the speaker Agoro Sub-county acknowledges receiving
complaints of vandalism of materials from the irrigation scheme. Odokonyero
says the vandals are targeting wires, angle bars, and steel from concrete poles
which are sometimes used as snares or by children.
He notes that theft of the perimeter fences has left the dam and
head work at the irrigation scheme exposed to children and pollution.
//Cue in: “Kony pa gin…
Cue out:…dam eno ni.”//
Agoro irrigation scheme which is meant to benefit more than 1,000 farmers in
the parishes of Ywaya and Pobar is currently being deserted by farmers over
inability to access water due to deep water canals. The majority of the rice
farmers have currently relocated to the main course of River Okura for easy
access to water their gardens.
The government was meant to kick off the rehabilitation of the irrigation
scheme by last year. But the process has stalled despite hundreds of water
pipes delivered at the irrigation site meant to change the current open water
Brenda Akao, the Communication Officer for the Ministry of Water
and Environment Northern Region says the rehabilitation has stalled for the
past one year due to a shortage of funds.