A new irrigation scheme in Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts has created 6,000 new jobs.
Speaking to The New Times on Friday, Gatsibo District agriculture officer Bernard Udahemuka said the irrigation scheme offered great opportunities to farmers.
“Our project showed the scheme was the ‘most significant economic development’ project in the two districts in recent years. The increased activity, particularly adapting to modern agriculture methods like irrigation, was estimated to have directly employed about 6000 people on farms,” he said.
“The irrigation scheme touches both Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts with over 900 hectares ready for rice growing. With the current productivity, at six tonnes per hectare on average, we expect 5400 tonnes of rice per season. This translates to Rwf130 million on average. The productivity is expected to increase as the swamp is still virgin…it has never been exploited before.”
The Mayor of Gatsibo District, Richard Gasana, said there had also been additional jobs created in the community through increased economic activity and businesses servicing the expanded irrigation.
“We now have a clear roadmap out of extreme poverty that is driven by broad-based economic growth and transparent, democratic governance. The community has an opportunity to pioneer a new model of development and shape an inclusive, results-driven agenda that will end extreme poverty.”
Rwandan farmers enjoy a 50-per cent subsidy on all irrigation equipment in order to increase their productivity and help reduce government expenditure on food importation, especially rice, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.