The importance of water in farming

On March 22, Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark World Water Day. Water plays a fundamental role in farming and anybody planning to set out as a farmer must consider the availability of a reliable water source near the place where he or she intends to put up the farm.

Water is very important for both livestock and for plants. It forms a large part of all plant tissues as well as being an essential component of all animal body cells.

Without water
When it does not rain for several weeks and the farm has no capacity for water to be delivered there, it could mean complete loss of all income from the farm.
All the crops may wither and dry up just as the livestock could drop dead in just a few days for lack of water to drink.

Poultry keepers know that eggs are mainly composed of water and that without sufficient water for the hens to drink, egg production goes down.
When the cows do not drink enough water, milk production declines. Water then is one of the most limiting factors in all farming activities.

An irony
One of the big ironies in Uganda is that thousands of small-scale farmers have resorted to cultivation in the wetlands under the excuse that long dry periods have made it impossible for them to grow crops in their gardens uphill.

Yet by “harassing” the wetlands they are essentially making rain formation harder. Prolonged dry spells damage the quality of the grass and fodder consumed by grazing animals. Our leaders and the farmers themselves need some sensitisation on the dangers of destroying wetlands.

Even if we imagine the possibility of crop irrigation by pumping water through pipes to our farms, such dreams may never materialise when our natural water bodies are destroyed since they are the source of the water to be pumped uphill.

Another big irony is that our country still has several water bodies—lakes and rivers—yet a dry country such as Egypt which gets its water from River Nile, which originates in Uganda, enjoys higher agricultural production.

E-mail: ssalimichaelj@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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