Meteorology agency predicts moderate rains

Women fill land in Rurindo District. According to Rwanda Meteology Agency, the northern parts of the country will experience highest rainfall. Sam Ngendahimana.

Rwanda Meteorology Agency has predicted moderate rainfall in most parts of the country but warned that some areas might experience flooding.  

Speaking at the release of seasonal forecast for September to December 2019, Aimable Gahigi, the Director-General of Meteo Rwanda, said that the northern part of the country will experience highest rainfall.

The western and southern regions are also expected to witness high rainfall.

In Eastern Province, the highest rainfall is expected in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts.

“Based on the forecast, we urge government institutions, non-government organisations, investors and project leaders, private sector, farmers and others to refer to the prediction so as to take appropriate measures in increasing agricultural  and livestock productivity, prevent disasters, protect the environment, construct drainages, among other measures,” he said.

As the rainy season begins, he explained, anti-erosion practices should be scaled up, adding that climate information will be timely disseminated through different channels, including farmers cooperatives and agricultural extension services.

“Since the early warning that sends SMS to every farmer is expensive, using social media and farmers cooperatives is affordable. Besides, the seasonal forecast, we have also a prediction for one each month, ten days, five days, three days, daily and every six hours per day,” he said.

Flooding that is likely to hit some of the areas could affect hydropower and water treatment plants and other infrastructure such as roads, bridges, houses, crops and others.

Studies show that disasters in Rwanda cause Rwf200 billion in economic loss per year, which is 10 per cent of the total national budget.

Moderate rains are expected in Kigali and districts of Rwamagana, Kamonyi, Ruhango, Muhanga, Karongo, a big part of Gatsibo, northern parts of Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe, Huye and Bugesera, the southern part of Gakenke, Rulindo and Gicumbi as well as the western part of Kayonza.

The districts of Kirehe, Ngoma, Bugesera, parts of Nyanza, Gisagara and eastern part of Gatsibo and Nyagatare are predicted to have the lowest amount of rainfall.  

While some farmers witnessed good yields in the previous season, others experienced a decline in output due to low rainfall, hailstorm and flooding.

“We need strong measures and plans on how farmers can prevent erosion that could be triggered by heavy rainfall and drought effects caused low rainfall,” he said.

Government targets to irrigate 102,000 hectares by 2024 up from the current 50,000 hectares to stave off weather induced agriculture losses.

The Government also plans to increase the land which is under erosion control measures, through terracing, soil conservation practices, and agroforestry.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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