The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), yesterday, donated Rwf 82m worth of agricultural equipment to the Ministry of Agriculture in a bid to boost agricultural productivity in the country.
The donation included; plastic linings for rainwater harvesting ponds, pedal irrigation pumps, watering cans and lime.
The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, noted that the received equipment would encourage irrigation, while ensuring optimum agricultural production.
“The equipment will give farmers an opportunity to farm even during dry seasons, and will also be essential for conserving water for their livestock,” Kalibata said, “In addition farmers can use this new innovation to plant in between seasons.”
The tools will be distributed by the ministry of agriculture to farmers’ co-operatives from 15 districts across the country.
Kalibata underlined that the consignment is in line with an existing government initiative to provide farmers with equipment that was initiated in 2007.
“The received equipment will be distributed to farmers we haven’t been able to reach since we initialized this program in 2007,” Kalibata said.
Kalibata commended WFP for setting an example in the provision of long-term intervention instead of offering aid.
“We appreciate the shift from aid to sustainable support, this donation shows commitment to provide a long-term solution to our farmers across the country,” said Kalibata.
The Country Director of WFP, Abdoulaye Balde stressed that the move would serve to amplify agricultural produce in the prevailing dry season.
“WFP believes this donation will be a major support to farmers irrigating their crops during this dry season,” said Balde, “it is part of an existing chain of activities to ensure farmers achieve the highest possible yields during the harvest period.”
In addition to food support WFP is supporting the government in meeting food needs of 10000 Rwandan refugees who have returned and 58000 Congolese refugees living in the country.