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Location Uganda
Central coordinates 33o 52.93' East  0o 32.24' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 4,350 ha
Altitude 1,176 m
Year of IBA assessment 2012


Summary Kibimba is the largest of the rice schemes in the Uganda supplying the bulk of the rice country requirement. There are obviously positives to be gained such as increased employment for the population. Like most wetlands in Uganda, Kibimba enjoys the support and protection through national legislation such as the National Policy for the Conservation of Wetlands, but the use of agro chemicals are a potential threat which needs to be monitored indeed there are cases of pesticides having been used to kill ducks and other birds for food.

Site description The Kibimba Rice Scheme is located either side of the main Jinja to Tororo highway near the town of Bugiri in eastern Uganda. Established in 1973 as a government venture to increase food production this intensive irrigated rice cultivation was formed when a dam was put in place on the Kibimba River. It is located about 7 Km from Lake Victoria and about 4 Km from Lake Kimira, which drains into Lake Kyoga. It is within the Lake-Victoria climatic zone which is characterized by relatively high rainfall and small variation in temperature, humidity and wind throughout the year. These rice fields have irrigation channels which allow water to flood certain fields in the production process and it is these flooded fields which are favourable to resident and migrant birds. The rice paddies have been expanding in size over time and now consume an area 3900ha of field and 450ha of Dam. Two different habitat types are found here, the natural wetlands and the modified wetlands (rice paddies). Kibimba dam was formed when the River Kibimba was blocked; this has formed an area of open water which is dominated by steep sided grassy hills, papyrus cloaks its edge and floating mats of Water Lilies Nymphea caerulea and Water Hyacinths Eichhornia crassiper, covers most of the water. Indeed, the Water Hyacinth E.crassiper is becoming a major problem with at least a third of the open water area being choked by this invasive species. The rice farm lies to the north of the reservoir and stretches for 4Km with its widest point reaching a width of 2Km. It is essentially a series of small fields with soil banks which are irrigated and planted. Ploughing, seeding and flooding are carried out bi-annually in September-October and March-April. The flooded plots especially are liked by waders, Ducks and Storks. Harvesting is usually carried out three months after planting when the fields are drier and lower numbers of birds are present. It is at an average altitude of 1176 M asl and it receives an annual rainfall of between 900mm- 1400mm which is spread between two rainy seasons, late February-June and August-November, with a peak in April.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Grey Crowned-crane Balearica regulorum A1  Endangered 
Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri A3  Near Threatened 
Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic Other artificial wetlands  90%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  10%

Land ownership The main crop grown on a large scale in Bugiri district is rice and Kibimba Rice Scheme managed by Tilda Uganda Ltd produces the biggest percentage. Kibimba Rice Scheme was the first rice farming scheme in Uganda. The construction started on February 1973 and was completed in March 1976. It was handed over to the Uganda Government in January 1982. The scheme was privatised in 1996 to Tilda Uganda Ltd.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 90%
water management 10%

Other biodiversity The site is home to many species of amphibians and fish especially in the swamps and the dam. Several species of butterfly can also be found here although more research is needed to establish the diversity.

Protection status Kibimba rice scheme is a privately owned venture. It is not protected or recognised either nationally or internationally. The use and management of the wetland areas can be guided by the existing national wetland policy or by developing the site management plan. This management plan needs to take care of the neighbouring areas that may be vital for the existence and functioning of this habitat.

Access/Land-Owner requests All wetlands are held in trust by the government for the people of Uganda. Kibimba was an area occupied by big swamps, almost unused in spite of having fertile soil, cheap labour and access to markets from the dense population in the area, as well as accessibility through the Jinja - Tororo highway, which cuts through the area. It also has good access to water all year through from the Kibimba River. The swamp still remains under the government management while the scheme is privately owned. Although access is not restricted in terms of visits by tourist, the community’s use of Kibimba River for fishing, water and other resources are restricted.

Acknowledgements National Biodiversity Data Bank: Hosted by Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. NatureUganda: African Waterbird Census database since 1991 to 2010 and related yearly reports. Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU): Data and species list generated during field training exercises.

References National Biodiversity Data Bank: Hosted by Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. NatureUganda: African Waterbird Census database since 1991 to 2010 and related yearly reports. Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU): Data and species list generated during field training exercises.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kibimba Rice Scheme. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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