An Egyptian investor who set up a farm in the Madi-Okollo district is counting losses after water backflow from the Wadelai Irrigation Scheme flooded a section of the farm, destroying crops.
The floods were triggered last month after authorities at the Wadelai Irrigation Scheme in the neighbouring Pakwach district reportedly blocked the flow of River Ora, resulting in a backflow. According to area residents, the floods have also submerged their crop gardens destroying several acres of banana and maize plantations.
Justus Katooto, one of the farm supervisors says that over 90 acres of Banana, Okra, Pineapples, Maize, Chilli and Hass Avocado varieties have been destroyed after they got submerged by the water. Katooto says that some of the workers now have nowhere to sleep since their houses are flooded.
Ebrham Osama, the manager at the farm told Mania Media that he did not receive any notification from the authorities at the irrigation scheme about their planned blocking of the river, which eventually resulted in a flood. He says that his drip irrigation systems have also been submerged by floods.
The farm located in Ajibu village, Baito parish, Okollo sub county employs more than 350 casual workers drown across the West Nile region.
Stephen Dromo, one of the affected residents say the floods destroyed half of his maize garden and he is now worried about the looming famine that his family is likely to face following the destruction caused by floods.
Ronald Nyakayia, the LCIII chairperson of Okollo sub-county told Mania Media that they are worried about the effects of the floods on the locals and workers on the farm. Nyakayia expressed fear that most employees on the farm might lose their jobs due to the devastation caused by the floods in the crop gardens.
However, Brenda Akao, the Communications Officer at the Ministry of Water and Environment says they are unaware of the incident.
Wadelai Irrigation Project which commenced in 2018, is being undertaken by Chrisbert Construction Limited. It sits on 1,000 hectares of land in the Wadelai sub-county and is intended to benefit an estimated 2,000 people once completed.
The 54.7 billion Shillings Wadelai Irrigation Project is one of the four irrigation schemes under the Farm Income Enhancement and Forestry Conservation Project (FIEFOC-2) financed by the African Development Bank, supported by the Nordic Development Fund and implemented in Uganda.