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PM Ngirente: Agriculture is full of opportunities

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has challenged leaders to help farmers make most of public investments brought to them by the Government and its partners. He made the call Friday while on a working visit to Kirehe District, Eastern Province where he was accompanied by several senior government officials.

The officials visited two irrigation schemes along lakes Cyambwe and Rwampanga in Nasho and Mpanga Sectors, one of them being in Nasho Sector, worth $30 million, and funded by Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF). The main crops planted in the scheme are maize, soybeans and beans. Using Lake Cyambwe water, the scheme has a centre pivot system that irrigates 1,172.3 hectares of land belonging to 2,100 farmers who are members of a cooperative known as NAICO. According to Magnifique Ndambe Nzaramba, the project manager, since the introduction of the project in 2017, maize productivity increased from 1.244 tonnes per hectare in Season 2017A to 6.726 tonnes per hectare in Season 2019A, with some farmers also managing to harvest as much as 10 tonnes per hectare. Beans increased from 0.988 tonnes per hectare to 1.672 tonnes per hectare, and soybean increased from 1.010 tonnes per hectares to 1.895 tonnes per hectares. However, farmer’s mindset on some inputs used to increase production was still a major challenge that holds some members back. Besides, farmer’s tendency to divert their production resulting into poor handling and marketing also makes some farmers remain in poverty while others get wealthier. “In fact, despite all those investments, if we do not put more efforts into them as leaders, we may find a poor individual here, despite having land under irrigation, that is what is disturbing me,” Prime Minister Ngirente said.“It should shame us if we found a person in Ubudehe Category One, while he or she has land here, with all those means and their neighbours doing what he or she could also do,” he added.

Testimony

Violette Kansangire, is resident in Nasho Sector, Kirehe District, moved to Nasho back in 1998. Despite having Lakes Nasho, Rwampanga and Cyambwe, she said, the place had dry soil and was devastated by draught. She is one of the people who started with the project three years ago.“When we started, we harvested four tonnes from a hectare, but today, we get nine tonnes,” she announced. Before, they would have been lucky to even harvest one season in three years, she added. Kansangire, who has 5.7 hectares, said their income has increased and lives changed ever since. “We used to cultivate, but nobody harvested, we harvested once in three seasons and the produce was too little, we could not plant maize because there was no rain, we planted cassava and beans which would not give us enough produce,” she explained.“We were too poor, all people went to work in other people’s farms to get food to eat; that is completely different today,” she pointed out. She said they are able to set a target and achieve it, due to the modern agriculture brought to them.“People should get to work, they should never wait for someone to feed them, they should see this opportunity as a wealth we were given by the leadership of our country, it is the prosperity of people of Kirehe and Nasho in particular,” she advised. When member of the cluster fails to get enough produce, they try to reach out to them, ask them to work together for one season so they demonstrate the best practices. Nasho irrigation scheme was inaugurated towards the end of 2015, while the scheme operations started in September 2016, with the planting season 2017A. As a component of land consolidation, the project helped in the resettlement of 144 households in an IDP Model village (Government funded) with basic infrastructure like access road, a health post, ECD, a craft production center (Agakiriro) and a conference hall. Farmer’s contribution to sustainability reserve fund is currently 103,000frw per Hectare (total of Frw120,770,000), up from 70,000frw/ha during the flooding period of 2018.

Source: www.newtimes.co.rw

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