The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has called on farmers in Burera District to embrace irrigation to tackle effects of drought and climate change.
The call was made on Tuesday by the State Minister for Agriculture, Tony Nsanganira, at Kamiranzovu marshlands in Butaro sector while launching irrigation campaign in the Northern Province.
He said irrigation can help in lessening the impacts of climate change and prolonged drought that have affected different parts of the country.
To mitigate effects of climate change, the government has introduced different measures to ensure good production, such as crop intensification, land use consolidation, and use of organic fertilisers and selected seeds among others.
Nsanganira said the drive was taken to Burera to safeguard and increase the production of Irish potatoes in the district.
The minister also urged farmers to always harvest rain water to ease shortages during the dry seasons.
Farmers were also urged to take good care of irrigation equipment that the government has provided to them as well as to ensure quality production.
“You need to ensure their good maintenance by working through your cooperatives for the safety of these irrigation equipment. You also need to devise water preservation measures and consult agronomists to produce what can meet international quality standards,” Nsanganira told the farmers.
Aimee Bosenibamwe, the Governor of Northern Province, asked farmers to discuss with their leaders and agronomists the kinds of crops to cultivate compatible with the region in line with the crop intensification programme.
He, however, appealed for government’s support in preparing more marshlands.
He told farmers to work hard and to grow fruits and vegetables to meet existing demand.
Farmers speak out
Jean Bosco Nziyumvira, the president of Terimbere Muhinzi Butaro cooperative that cultivates Irish potatoes and maize in Kamiranzovu marshlands, told The New Times that they remain hopeful of good yields after employing irrigation.
The cooperative irrigates crops on 175 hectares.
“We usually harvest 26 tonnes from one hectare, but during the dry season, we get only about 15 tonnes, but after irrigating our crops during this dry season, we expect between 20-24 tonnes per hectare,” Nziyumvira explained.
The government has introduced a new agriculture season, dubbed season “C’ in marshlands and will be practiced during dry spells.
In response, Burera was provided with irrigation equipment, worth Rwf29.8 million, to help farmers across the district.