Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi has reassured farmers across the country that every fiscal year, money will be put aside to construct more valley dams by using streaming rivers and rain water so as to enhance irrigation as part of measures to cope with drought.
Murekezi made the remarks during the monthly ‘Umuganda’ community work yesterday in Muhanga district, Cyeza sector where 100 hectares of marshlands were irrigated by using high-pressure diesel water pumps.
The valley is owned by Tuzamurane cooperative and grows maize on the land. The cooperative irrigates the land by using irrigation pumps.
“This marshland should have a dam that can be used for both irrigation and watering cattle,” he said.
Farmers say they have been struggling with irrigating their crops since they use manual arrangements such watering cans, buckets and other domestic materials to water their maize .
The cooperative is one of ten that managed to buy irrigation pumps and currently irrigates 2,000 ha in Muhanga district according to officials.
“Ever since maize seeds were planted s, there has been shortage of rains and farmers started using watering cans to water crops. Otherwise the crops could have withered from the scorching sun. It is a lesson to all farmers across the country. These pumps will sustain your efforts and will provide more produce,” said Murekezi.
Alphonse Ntaganzwa, the president of Tuzamurane, said the cooperative needed at least 30 irrigation pumps yet they only have three.
He added that besides needing more pumps, they also need such dams and drainage systems since one side of the marshland is not supplied with water.
Murekezi pledged to work with agriculture ministry, banks, finance ministry on the scheme of providing long-term loans so that farmers can buy more irrigation pumps.
According to Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Natural Resources, the water master plan must be exploited in conjunction with the Agriculture ministry so that valley dams are increased for irrigation purposes every fiscal year instead of letting water flow to other countries without solving drought issues.