Valley dams help farmers grow vegetables all year-round

Ms Jane Aliro in the group vegetable garden lovated in Terego district


Farmers in West Nile can now grow with ease water-intensity crops such as tomatoes, eggplants and onions, thanks, to the Livelihoods Enhancement for West Nile and Acholi (LEWA) project implemented under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) program.

The project provides irrigation in­frastructure that allows farmers to grow vegetables throughout the year. Through the establishment of valley dams and irrigation schemes, where swamps are reclaimed, the farmers store water in reservoirs before using it to ir­rigate the crops during the dry seasons.

The beneficiaries can now grow enough food to feed their fami­lies and sell some in local markets. Ms Jane Aliro from Nzaya United Farmers’ Group in the Terego dis­trict, says her group has used water from the dams to grow vegetables on top of the other oilseeds that the project supports them to produce. Before the project intervention in 2020, the farmers used to grow short-term crops for food consumption. However, with support from the project, farmers got training in modern agricultur­al methods to increase their production.

Ms Aliro with one of the group members at the dam constructed under the project in Terego district


“The group members provide the la­bour during land preparation. We get seedlings as a start-up package under the project and only incur transport costs and market dues,” Ms Aliro says. Ms Aliro says they use half an acre to plant vegetables such as okra and cowpeas. “We plan to buy a tricycle to ease transport for our products,” she says. Last year, Ms Aliro started con­structing a permanent house from the money she saved with the group after selling the vegetables. She hopes to complete the house using proceeds from the second harvest lat­er this month and the subsequent ones. With the house construction project out of the way, Ms Aliro plans to es­tablish a business for herself to sus­tain the family and herself when she can no longer afford to till the land. The water in the valley dams can irrigate the farmers’ crops for the entire season.


The farmers use solar pumping system technology that uses solar technology to drive the pumping system to obtain the irrigation water from the valley dam. The solar system compris­es a solar panel, a push wheel cart to enable its movement on the farm, and a set of wa­ter sprinklers and pipelines to trap water from the source. The project provides all these equip­ment at no cost.