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What next for flood prone Gisagara region?

Over 1,600 rice farmers in Nyiramageni marshland in Gisagara District are awaiting government bailout to help them recover from disaster-induced losses.

They are part of thousands of rice farmers affected by heavy rains experienced between October and December 2019 and early this year.

 

In 2019, over 10, 610 hectares of crops across the country including rice were damaged.

 

A series of disasters destroyed at least 3,117 hectares of crops in only four months of 2020 across the country

 

Gisagara District in Southern Province is one of the districts that experienced heavy rains and flooding washing away rice crops in the valley between Mamba and Gikonko sectors.

Coproriz Nyiramageni — a cooperative of rice farmers that grow rice on 500-hectare Nyiramageni marshland in Gisagara District was among the most-hit cooperatives.

The affected rice had reached harvesting stage. Photos: Courtesy.

Vincent Nsabiyeze, the President of the cooperative said that farmers have been incurring losses from flooding that devastated the marshland leaving it in poor state. 

The cooperative has 1,670 members.

The marshland gets inundated during the rainy season.

He said that the situation is aggravated by the fact that it is near the River Akanyaru, in the Southern part of Rwanda that submerges 500 hectares.

Last year, he said, the farmers lost rice on plantations covering over 360 hectares as a result of floods that occurred between November and December 2019.

“We were expecting to harvest at least 1,800 tonnes of rice from the 360 hectare plantations that were destroyed by floods. That is a huge loss,” he said.

Given that a Kilogramme of paddy rice was Rwf260, it implies that the farmers suffered a loss of Rwf260 million.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has said the farmers will receive a bailout soon under Sustainable Agricultural Productivity and Market Linkage Project (SAPMP).

The project is scheduled to run from October 2020 through December 2024, and will directly benefit about 13,019 households consisting of approximately 56,000 people.

The US$ 10 million (about Rwf9.6 billion) support will help farmers in Gisagara and Nyanza Districts by developing marshland and hillside at Nyiramageni marshland site.

The project will develop approximately 600 ha of marshland and 500 ha of hillside as well as benefit other value chain actors including users and operators of farming machineries, processing equipment and facilities, agro dealers and labourers in construction. 

Agriculture insurance

Recently Jean-Claude Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that farmers in many parts of the country faced floods calling on farmers to embrace agriculture insurance.

He said that only   18,000 hectares of crops are insured across the country so far.

Up to now at least Rwf460 Million have been compensated to farmers and livestock keepers who counted losses due to disasters.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has said that they are going to subsidize insurance cost for more crops beyond maize and rice and livestock so as to cushion farmers against losses.

Of domestic animals, only cows are covered at the moment with more to be added soon.

For crop insurance, Irish potatoes, beans, soybeans and bananas, cassava and horticulture crops among others will be added to subsidized insurance whereas livestock poultry and piggery will be considered.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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