Enhancing irrigation to improve climate adaptation 

Enhancing irrigation to improve climate adaptation and sustain smallholder production systems in Uganda

Introducing our project ‘Enhancing irrigation to improve climate adaptation and sustain smallholder production systems in Uganda.’

The project ‘Enhancing irrigation to improve climate adaptation and sustain smallholder production systems in Uganda’ is developed together with Eastern Africa Grain Council, Grundfos, Akvo International, and Access2innovation. The project is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Danida Green Business Partnerships (DGBP) program.

The project adopts a value chain approach encompassing capacity building, technology, finance, and access to markets to create an inclusive supply and demand ecosystem that will increase the adoption of quality irrigation technologies to increase climate adaptation and resilient food systems while contributing to private sector business growth for irrigation technologies and associated services. The business case revolves around the embeddedness of solar-driven irrigation solutions within a value chain to promote the uptake. The project goal will be achieved by three interrelated specific objectives, namely;

1. Increasing smallholder capacity in climate adaptation practices in food production and marketing systems.

2. Develop a private sector driven smallholder irrigation technology supply chain to foster inclusive economic growth.

3. Facilitating access to finance for investment in irrigation technology.

Background: challenges of climate change in rain-fed agriculture

Smallholder farming is the predominant economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa involving approximately 33 million farmers. In Uganda, agriculture accounts for 70% of employment, mostly in smallholder farming which occupies half of all land area, provides half of all exports, and contributes 25% of the national GDP.

Due to overdependence on rain-fed agriculture smallholder food production systems are experiencing increased vulnerability from the effects of climate change manifesting mostly in erratic rains and frequent droughts especially in the Northern and Eastern regions. Currently, only 1.3% of total cultivated land in Uganda is irrigated over a potential of 1.1 million hectares.

Therefore the project will facilitate farmers to acquire adequate knowledge of climate change adaptation options including options for irrigated agriculture as well as access to finance and markets for their irrigated produce, thereby increasing demand and investment in irrigation solutions and by so doing increase resilience to climate change leading to increased productivity, increased incomes and improved livelihoods and a more inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Meet the partners

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) is the lead partner and a regional Not-for-Profit membership organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with country offices in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Malawi and representation in Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan and DR Congo. Its membership constitutes farmers, traders, processors, and private sector service providers; financial institutions, input suppliers, and professional institutions in the grain value chain. Established as a private sector mechanism to address key market failures in the grain value chain, the organization provides diverse services to both farmers and private enterprises in access to inputs and outputs markets including linkage to finance, market information to facilitate trade decisions, capacity building in diverse areas including pre-and post-harvest management, quality management, climate resilience and environmental management and engagement with governments to advocate for policies that create an enabling environment for production and trade. The organization’s interest in this project is driven by the growing focus to increase resilience of foods system through adoption of climate adaptation systems. The adoption of irrigation technologies for supplementary irrigation will go a long way to cushion farmers against climate induced droughts to sustaining crop yields. For more information visit:,

Grundfos Holding A/S is a large international company established in 1945 with a staff of 20,000 worldwide, approximately 4,000 of whom are located in Denmark. The company is a global leader in water technology committed to pioneering solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improving the quality of life for people. As a member of the UN global compact, Grundfos aims to reach 300 million people with clean drinking water by 2030. With a staff of over 20,000 people across 100 companies and 60 countries, Grundfos has developed partnerships in a B-2-B model that optimises the delivery of high-quality solutions that meet the needs of local customers and ensure that after-sales service and maintenance is. guaranteed. However, our goal requires that we go further to address the barriers. Grundfos sees humanity challenged by an accelerated water crisis intensified by climate change, a growing population and increased urbanisation. To ensure we continuously live up to our commitments and adapt to the new challenges, our business strategy is set to accelerate the energy and water efficiency of our solutions to make a significant positive impact on the world. Grundfos has worked with the Carbon Trust to set climate targets for scope 1,2 and 3 emissions that are being submitted for SBTi approval and Grundfos wants to play a significant role in improving water service levels and create lasting impact by providing commercially viable, sustainable and smart water solutions to underserved communities around the world. SafeWater, our Centre of Excellence in developing new business models allows Grundfos to reach and help people living in poverty in remote communities and plays an essential role in achieving our water access ambition. SafeWater works alongside the Water Utility Division in catalysing transformational change in order to reach our goals.

Akvo International is a Ugandan based private-owned company with branches in Kenya and South Sudan. Established in 2019, the company is a quality water and energy technology solutions supplier with a mission to be a global leader in irrigation, water, and solar energy solutions. Akvo established an Irrigation Hub to provide high quality end-to-end solutions to agriculture value chain to address the challenges addressed by this project of ensuring food security and productivity by embracing solar powered irrigation technologies for small-scale farmers. The company is a distributor and valued partner of Grundfos. Previously, Akvo has been invited to establish government irrigation demonstration farms where the Grundfos SQ Flex was installed. Akvo has implemented several irrigation projects for smallholder farmers, adopting an approach to identify bespoke solutions even to small-scale farmers. The company also qualified for the government/ World bank supported micro-irrigation programme. With a 5-year experience working with farmers, Akvo has identified challenges of limited knowledge of irrigation solutions, inaccessibility of advisory and support services, inadequate financing and substandard substitute products in the market as key obstacles in irrigation technology uptake. Therefore, by packaging quality, efficient, durable, and cost-effective irrigation solutions that are geared towards satisfying EAGC farmers’ needs, and using the EAGC network to build capacity of farmers and cooperatives the capacity of farmers to seek out sustainable solutions will improve.


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