Ngoma District has relocated over 100 families in line with the government policy of land consolidation for improved agriculture productivity.
Rukumberi model village that was launched at the weekend has good network of community roads, schools, permanent houses and electricity among other facilities.
The houses were built with the support of the government and beneficiaries are among the most vulnerable.
Addressing residents during the official ceremony to handover the houses, the Governor of Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, said the model village would help stop land fragmentation among others.
“The new settlement plan is one ‘size that fits all’ in that the district’s densely population couldn’t cope with land fragmentation. The model village is going to check the issue of land fragmentation, hence increasing per capita arable land availability. The vacated land will be used for agriculture production…this is a great achievement,” she said.
Uwamariya told The New Times that it was easier for the government to provide better services to people in planned settlements than when they were previously scattered in valleys.
She noted that the modern model village supports the land consolidation program that demands large agricultural area.
“Local leaders sensitized people and brought them to one village...they have access to all basic needs. The houses are furnished with electricity and other social amenities will soon reach them”.
The Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs George Mupenzi, reiterated that extensive agriculture needs enough land, adding that the traditional nature of population distribution affected farming in general.
He said that planned villages would help the district achieve its economic development goals, noting that it would also accelerate the country’s shift to middle income status by 2020.
“The new model village in this district gives a solution to problems associated with small sized farms and dispersal of holdings…it is through the provision of such infrastructure facilities that we can sail through,” he said.
The only problem that the model village in the district still faces is scarcity of water. Residents still have to walk long distances to fetch water.
Jean-Damascène Gakwaya, 55, one of the beneficiaries of the modern settlement program commended the initiative.
“We now live in decent houses where we easily access most basic needs …it is quite different from where we used to live. We used to travel several kilometers to reach a health center, but the issue of scarcity of water however remains,” he said.
All districts in Rwanda were tasked by the government to come up with at least one model village.