Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente on Monday launched the 2019 agricultural season ‘A’ at a newly reclaimed marshland in Nyamagabe District where farmers are engaging in large scale maize cultivation.
The Premier and his delegation - including several ministers – was on a two-day working tour of the Southern Province. It is his first tour of the Province since his appointment in August last year.
The tour largely aims at monitoring the implementation of government programmes and improving coordination among government institutions.
After touring Mwogo TVET School, the party proceeded to interact with rural farmers and launch 2019 agricultural season A in in the 57-hectare Mwogo marshland.
In the valley where 703 farmers are organised in a cooperative, the Prime Minister and his team planted maize as well as held a meeting in which they listened to farmers' views on a range of issues including ideas on how to enhance productivity.
Ngirente was particularly impressed by the farmers' organisation and he promised to help them to, among others, get a better office where their affairs can be best managed.
Girente said: "One of the things that particularly impressed me is the unity and cooperation I have noticed in your cooperative. This is something very positive and you must uphold it".
He advised the rural farmers to embrace a savings culture as it will help them be more self-reliant.
Those who talked to The New Times appeared optimistic about a future of improved livelihoods.
Wallars Nkurunziza, 29, explained that their cooperative will be farming in the marshland for three seasons.
He said: "First, now, we are planting maize then later we shall plant beans after which we shall put in different vegetables.
We have a place to dry and stock our maize produce and I am sure we shall have enough to feed our families and for the market."
According to the farmer, preparing the marshland such that they can have three planting season is a new project that started this year.
"The marshland had been in use but very inefficiently. We now have proper irrigation canals and better farming methods and expect very good yields".
Day one of the Premier's tour was wrapped up by a tour of Kigeme Hospital, a medical facility serving more than 200,000 residents .
On Tuesday the Premier will visit Huye District.