|Central coordinates||33o 52.93' East 0o 32.24' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3|
|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.
Ornithological information The area receives no formal protection, being neither an IBA nor a Ramsar site; it is entirely at the mercy of the Tilda Rice Company which owns the site. Waterbird counts have been conducted on regular basis in Kibimba Rice Scheme since 1991, since that time an immense amount of data has been collated and hopefully this will elevate the site to an IBA recognition status. During the winter counts large numbers of Palearctic wading birds are present including many Wood Tringa glareola and Marsh Sandpipers T. stagnatilis, Little Stint Calidris minuta, Ruff Philomachus pugnax and Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, while large numbers of Storks, Ibis and Egret’s are present, with numbers of Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia being particularly noteworthy. Grey-Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum numbers fluctuate but usually up to 30 are present, while in 2009 a Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus joined them, this a first for Uganda and it spent about three months here. The July count has lower numbers of birds present but usually contains good numbers of Ducks and Geese, while resident species such as African Jacana Actophilornis africanus are more visible.
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Fulvous Whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor||-||-||2,500 individuals||good||Least Concern|
|Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia||-||-||1,000-1,317 individuals||good||Least Concern|
|Grey Crowned-crane Balearica regulorum||-||-||-||-||A1||Endangered|
|Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis||-||-||750-1,412 individuals||good||Least Concern|
|Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri||-||-||-||-||A3||Near Threatened|
|Carruthers's Cisticola Cisticola carruthersi||-||-||-||-||Least Concern|
|Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca||-||-||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops||-||-||-||-||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (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||Extent (% of site)|
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.
Management considerations The neighbouring areas had big trees which were being used as breeding areas by the Black-headed Heron but these trees are being cut down. There have been incidences of bird poisoning especially for White-faced Whistling Duck and Fulvous Whistling Duck. There have also been claims of use of various methods including pesticides to control birds presumed to be pests. The need for increasing yields and production encourages the use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals such as fertilizers that are all potential threats to avian fauna.
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.
Conservation response This site is one of the sites regularly monitored waterbird sites since 1991. It is a demonstration and learning site for university students of IUIU. Currently the scheme attracts many environmental and socio-economic researchers, while eco-tourists can be attracted if the changed habitat, with its enriched avifauna remains intact. The swamp and wetland areas found in the scheme must be retained alongside its papyrus specialties so as such habitats are not lost.
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 (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kibimba Rice Scheme. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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