Efforts to strength modern agriculture practices have been boosted by a $94 million (about Rwf65 billion) irrigation project expected to start early next year in Kirehe District, Eastern Province.
The project which will occupy a total of 9,000 hectares in Mahama and Mpanga Sectors will be implemented by WAPCOS, an Indian firm that deals in water resources development and management. The firm will set up export-oriented agro-projects, where it will largely practice irrigation before handing them over to local farmers in 2017.
Tony Nsanganira, the State Sinister for Agriculture, said the project that will be run by WAPCOS on behalf of government will spur the country’s crop production through modern farming techniques.
Nsanganira said the $94 million (about Rwf65 billion) project in Kirehe District, Eastern Province is expected to start early next year and will be handed over to farmers by 2017.
“These two sectors, like the rest of the Eastern Province, are prone to drought. However, the project area has a lot of surface water, but lacks irrigation facilities and other modern farming facilities,” Nsanganira said.
Nsanganira was speaking during workshop on irrigation technologies in Kigali last week.
Rwanda recently received a $120 million credit line from Export-Import Bank of India to fund export-targeted modern irrigation agricultural projects.
Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, said the project will help boost the country’s agricultural exports once it is implemented.
Stella Ford Mugabo, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, urged WAPCOS to ensure the sustainability of the project before hand over to farmers.
RK Agapahal, WAPCOS country director, said the company is currently working on the details on how farmers will manage the project before it is handed over in 2017.
In 2013, WAPCOS signed a contract with the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the project and provide technical support.
According to data at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, over $270 million has been used to support various agriculture projects, including in areas of irrigation and water management.
Rwanda’s Irrigation Master Plan covers about 40,465ha of potential irrigation areas.
And more than 500 irrigation schemes are being developed, in areas experiencing prolonged drought including Bugesera and Kayonza districts in Eastern Rwanda.