A combination of drought and flooding could create food insecurity for rice farmers in Kabuye marshland in Gasabo District.
Drought hit part of the area, leading to delayed planting of rice, officials said, but in another area water has submerged rice gardens.
Farmers in parts of the marshland zones known as Gasanze, Rutongo (Southern) and Rutongo (North) said hunger looms as they did not plant rice on time.
Planting activities are normally carried out in December but they are yet to plant due to water shortage. Yet farmers in the rest of the marshland who had planted are predicting poor harvest due to flooding that wreck their plantations.
“We would have planted in December last year, but you see that we are cultivating now when others are in the weeding period. This means that we could have famine when others will be harvesting,” said Epiphanie Mukasoni, a farmer in Kabuye marshland, Gasanze zone, that suffers water shortage.
Eugene Murenzi, another farmer in the same zone, said water shortage in the marshland has affected their living conditions.
“Even now we are leading a poor life. We used to get everything from the rice produce but for now, we have nothing to rely on. We wish the government could help us to channel water in our plantations,” he said.
The 400-hectare wetland in Gasabo District linking four sectors of Jabana, Gisozi, Nduba and Kinyinya is divided into different parts, locally known as Ibipande.
Despite concerns over water shortage in the northern part of the marshland, farmers in the southern part raised concerns over rampant floods wrecking their plantations.
Gaspard Karamira, 56, said they were lost for words.
“We have nothing to say besides what you see here. There is nothing other than losses as you see that plantations are submerged,” Karamira said.
Pascasie Mukagakwaya, another farmer in Kabuye zone, said floods are holding back their efforts to invest in agriculture.
“You see what happened to our plantations; we don’t expect anything from the plantations yet we had invested both money and efforts; how can you think of reinvesting in rice farming after such losses?” she wondered.
Solutions in offing
Speaking to journalists after visiting the marshland,, last week State Minister for Agriculture Tony Nsanganira acknowledged the problem, and assured that sustainable solutions were to come soon.
“These problems of water shortage in some parts of the marshland and flooding on the other sides are resulting from Nyange site on Nyabugogo River where stream that was feeding the right side of the wetland was diverted into Nyabugogo River,” Nsangirana said.
“However, a study was completed on setting up water channels that will feed all the plantations in the marshland.”
To make marshlands productive, a two phase plan dubbed Kigali marshland development plan was developed to rehabilitate marshlands within the City of Kigali.