Development of agriculture sector is among the Ugandan government’s prioritized areas, especially since it is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, and it accounts for almost 25% of GDP and employs approximately 70% of the Ugandan population. Furthermore, the agriculture sector is the single biggest contributor to export earning as it accounts for 85% of total export mainly with cash crops including coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco to be exported to Sudan, Kenya, DR Congo, Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and the UAE. However, still, over 55% of the agricultural GDP comes from food crops such as plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, while cash crops contribute 17% only, leaving significant room for increased agricultural export earnings along with the development of commercial farming and promotion of cash crops.
Meanwhile, the impact of climate change poses significant threats to Uganda’s development goals. The most critical climate changes in Uganda are increased/reduced precipitation and increasing temperature, and such changes are already bringing negative impacts to energy, water, and eventually to agriculture sector, however, only 15,000 hectares, which is less than 3% of the potential irrigable area of 566,466 hectares, has been developed under the formal irrigation system.
Therefore, sustainable energy solutions for irrigation based on sustainable water management principles can provide Ugandan farmers with decentralized systems to access water and electricity for irrigation, and will greatly contribute to improved productivity and the profitability of Ugandan agriculture, as well as to improved climate resilience against the increasingly unexpectable rainfall pattern. Such interventions are further supported and guided by the National Irrigation Master Plan 2010-2035 that targets to invest in irrigation infrastructure and to boost commercial farming in an effort to transform the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country.