Sam Rubagumya, a model farmer and beneficially of the project talking to Journalists
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture have said that the Ministry is embarking on Irrigation mechanization campaign to maintain its targeted level in terms of food security.
This was announced by Jules Mporanyi, an agronomist with the Ministry.
It was after a one-day guided tour given to different members of the press around the Ministry’s Rwf5 billion irrigation scheme in Matimba and Musheri sectors of Nyagatare district in Eastern province.
The irrigation scheme, covering 400 hectares of maize plantation, is revolutionising agricultural production among the local small-scale farmers and boosting the country’s food security, according to Mporanyi.
Addressing journalists after the guided tour of the project, Mporanyi said the Ministry realized the irrigation scheme in the area as vital to improving livelihoods of farmers who have suffered in the past due to unpredictable weather.
farms can be better handled through irrigation for enough produce
Rwanda is considered more food secure than its East African Community regional bloc counterparts, according to a global hunger scoreboard released in 2011 by the international anti-poverty agency Action Aid.
During the visit, journalists were taken around different irrigation technologies around the scheme.
At a sprinklers-used technology, Grace Mukarusagara, an agriculture engineer at the scheme shared her skills with journalists on how partly the high-tech system operates to irrigate crops.
“This is a modern way of irrigating crops…with the system, farmers can freely expect their total harvests without worries of climate changes,” she said.
According to officials at the site, an identical system is being carried out in Kirehe district in the same province, where over 600 hectares of maize are expected to provide bumper harvest.
Speaking to journalists, one of the beneficiaries of the project, Sam Rubagumya hailed the government for lifting farmers out of regular climatic changes worries that sometimes drew them into losses.
“I own 50 hectares of maize and Soya bean at this scheme. It is a tremendous facilitation by the government that with all our resources we invested here, we look forward to full harvest,” said Rubagumya, a model farmer with 27 years in the profession.
The government sees irrigation schemes, especially in districts prone to unfavourable weather conditions, as the magic potion to food security for small-scale producers in the near future.
Information from Nyagatare district indicates that, in 2010, more than 4,000 hectares of maize was destroyed due to severe drought that hit the larger part of the province, making farmers loose thousands of tonnes of the crops.
Learning on how the irrigation system works
However, in a separate interview, Grace Mukarusagara, an engineer at the newly government-funded project said the new irrigation programme will enable farmers get high yields without relying on the unpredictable weather.
Mukarusagara added that the already completed site, located in Rwentanga Cell in Matimba Sector, comprises irrigation canals, water pumping machines and feeder roads that will cater for more than 400 hectares of land in two sectors before being rolled out in the entire district.
“The project is expected to last for more than 20 years, helping farmers in irrigation activities. The ministry has asked the beneficiaries to take good use of the irrigation equipment,” said Mukarusagara.
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