Govt sets aside Rwf1.3bn for Rurambi marshland

A view of rice plantations destroyed by floods on Rurambi Marshland in Bugesera District in 2018. / Courtesy

The Government has allocated Rwf1.3 billion to fund the restoration of the 850-hectareRurambimarshland.

There had been widespread concerns over lack of funds to develop the marshland which was degraded by devastating floods that destroyed rice plantations.

About 650 hectares of the wetland located near River Akagerais used by 1,667 farmers for rice cultivation, according to Athanase Murenzi, President of CORIMARU – a rice cooperative.

He added that 200 hectares were reserved for growing stevia – a natural sweetener and sugar substitute crop – by an estimated 400 farmers.

Last year, rice farmers’ hopes were shattered when devastating floods destroyed their plantations, and caused them to lose over Rf300 million that they had invested.

They were expecting to harvest at least 3,000 tonnes of rice, and Murenzi estimated the total loss from the floods was Rwf900 million that they would generate from the sale of their rice produce.

“Because of heavy rains, River Akagera levels increased, hence spilling over onto our crops and destroyed them,” Murenzi said.

Owing to unpredictable weather patterns, parliamentarians requested the government to make the development of the marshland a priority because farmers were at risk of being hit by yet another devastating flood.

Angelique Umwali, Vice Mayor for Finance and Economic Development in Bugesera District told Sunday Times said that the Marshland was important to residents from the two sectors of Juru and Mwogo who depend on it for livelihoods.

“What we wanted is that the dyke be raised so as to prevent the excessive river overflow into farmers’ plantations and cause them loss. When this problem is solved, we expect high yields and hope that farmers will have no worry that they will lose their investments,” she said.

Jean-Claude Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. / Courtesy

Speaking during budget consultation at parliament in May this year, Jean-Claude Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), said that because of the floods that have been prevalent on the marshland, there is a need to raise the dyke by one to two meters and rehabilitate destroyed parts.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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