President Paul Kagame yesterday met with thousands of residents of Eastern Province’s Nyagatare District at Matimba and Karangazi sectors as part of his one-day tour of the district.
He congratulated the residents on their recent achievements in improving agriculture using irrigation, diversifying their crops, and increasing access to electricity to diversify their businesses.
Kagame encouraged them to do more and end poverty in their homes.
“There is still a lot to be done and we must be ready to get it done,” he said, explaining that their recent achievements should encourage them to do more.
As a result of using irrigation, some farmers in the area have seen their maize production per hectare move from three tonnes to seven tonnes, which prompted others in other parts of the district to ask the Head of State to scale up irrigation to help them increase their production.
A scheme irrigating 900 hectares was built in the district’s Musheri and Matimba sectors, which increased agricultural production in the areas.
“It’s an example of what is possible. Which farmer wouldn’t want to move from producing one tonne to seven tonnes? If it’s possible there is no reason why we can’t do it. So, we need to increase efforts in what we do,” he said.
Nyagatare District is primarily rural with 67 per cent of the population engaged in extensive agriculture, with major crops cultivated here, including maize, beans, cassava, rice, and bananas.
The district is also known as a place that flows with milk and boasts several heads of cattle, producing about 90,000 litres of milk daily and selling about 75,000 litres of it.
In order to increase access to water, government is currently implementing a Rwf4.4-billion project to supply clean water to 36,000 people by 2017.
Additionally, a Rwf6-billion World Bank project to supply water for livestock is underway.
Achievements that have improved lives in this district also include widespread awareness on the importance of having health insurance, with 80.1 per cent of the population here covered under the community based health insurance scheme known in the country as Mutuelle de Santé.
On his tour of Nyagatare, the President also visited different development projects, including Epic Hotel, which is under construction by the Eastern Province Investment Corporation (EPIC).
Districts in the Eastern Province and members of the private sector have bought shares in the hotel.
Construction of the Rwf16.4-billion four-star hotel began in 2013 and it should be finalised by May 2017, officials said.
The President also visited East African Granite Industries Ltd (EAGI) and Kagitumba One Stop Border Post which was built to facilitate business and people’s movement between Uganda and Rwanda by reducing border-crossing bureaucracy.
The Head of State promised residents more government support to increase access to electricity, water, roads construction, and schools for their children.
“We were not created to remain poor. We may have a history of poverty but we must work to leave it in the past,” he said.
The President also called on citizens to always hold their leaders accountable and ensure safety in their communities if they are to succeed in implementing their projects and improve their lives.
“You should not be afraid to hold public officials accountable and speak out when they are not serving citizens,” he said.
“Public officials have no right to use public resources as their own.”
The Mayor of Nyagatare District, George Mupenzi, thanked the Head of State for his trip in the region, describing it as encouraging and a proof that President Kagame has the people at heart and keeps his promises to them.