Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, on Wednesday, launched the construction of irrigation projects in the Eastern Province. The launch was part of the ongoing Irrigation Week activities.
The purpose of the Week is to mobilize local communities living around water bodies to use the resource to promote food security.
The irrigation projects launched in Tabagwe and Rwempasha sectors will ensure constant supply of water from Muvumba River to the nearby rice marshlands throughout the year.
The Muvumba Perimeter 8 alone, when complete, will irrigate 1, 500 hectares stretching 27 kilometres.
This project is estimated to cost Rwf8 billion.
The rice project is expected to produce is 21,000 tonnes, annually, valued at Rwf4.62 billion.
The production, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, will cover the rice deficit in the country.
Production from other marshlands like Rwagitima in Gatsibo district will be exported.
Rwagitima will have a production capacity of over 2, 000 tonnes annually.
The Prime Minister thanked the farmers for their efforts in promoting development through rice production which, he said, has a big impact on the national economy.
“The Irrigation programme is an agenda we must give priority and I would like to thank you for the role you play in such developmental activities,” he said adding that the country’s economy is supported by farmers.
Makuza noted that the efforts by the rice growers, coupled with the irrigation programmes, are capable of bringing to an end the importation of food stuffs.
He urged the farmers to strengthen their cooperatives adding that this is the only way they can develop themselves.
“Manage those cooperatives well and do not allow local leaders to interfere with them. Their role is to advise you where necessary,” he reiterated.
The Prime Minister called on the residents to protect the irrigation infrastructure, since it was expensive to put up.
Makuza also visited Nyagatare milk processing plant and the RDF maize farms at Gabiro before meeting Gatsibo opinion leaders.