The Governments of Rwanda and Japan have sealed a $18.8-million (about Rwf16 billion) financing agreement to support irrigation farming in Rwamagana District in Eastern Province.
The support will mainly focus on the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities and help contribute to the implementation of phase III of the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture in Rwanda, which is a key sector development plan of agriculture, Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete said.
The money will be used to repair four water reservoirs of Cyimpima dam, Bugugu, Gashara, and Cyaruhogo, construction of water canals, and rehabilitation of 15 kilometres of of feeder roads in the district.
The project, which will be implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is geared at improving agriculture productivity and increasing farmers’ household income.
The whole project is designed to help farmers utilise agricultural water to be accumulated at four dams in Eastern Province more efficiently and promote intensive farming.
This, according to Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda Takayuki Miyashita, will lead to economic development with improved agricultural productivity, food security, and increased income of farmers in rural areas.
Gatete said under plan for transmission of agriculture, the Government has prioritised irrigation as key to reducing the dependency on rainfed agriculture.
“Through this support, we are targeting to have 100,000 hectares under irrigation of which 65,000 hectares is marshland and 35,000 hectares is hillside,” he said.
JICA is currently supporting new solar power project. The solar-powered irrigation scheme was unveiled in Ngoma District earlier this year and covers 300 hectares of land, including hillside on 265 hectares and a marshland equivalent to more than 35 hectares in Rurenge and Remera sectors.
The irrigation scheme, worth Rwf10 billion, has been developed under the cooperation between the Government of Rwanda and JICA.
According to Fulgence Nsengiyumva, the minister of state in charge of agriculture, the project will help boost farmers’ capacity and agriculture productivity.
Crops targeted for irrigation are rice, vegetables and fruits, among others, especially during the dry season.
The Government has in recent past introduced small-scale irrigation technologies that include ready to use one hectare, 5 hectares, and 10 hectares complete sprinkler, drip and rain-gun kits with portable diesel/petrol pump-units and pipes as well as rain-water harvesting through tanks (plastic and concrete), treadle pump and dam sheet technologies.
The small-scale irrigation is subsidised up to 50 per cent to enable small-scale farmers to improve production.