GATSIBO - Farmers in Gatsibo District gathered recently to celebrate their bumper harvests. For the first time in recorded history, they are reaping unprecedented harvests from their fields.
The record yields are attributed to the huge investments made by the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation (LWH) project and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“LWH began to change my life for the better even before the completion of the terraces. I was recruited as part of the labour force for the terrace construction, and was well compensated.
I was able to build a house, buy a bicycle and get married from the payments I received from LWH,” said Elias Nkiranuye, a farmer in the area.
In early 2011, LWH concluded the construction of the terraces which were combined with intensive capacity building exercises among the farmers to ensure sustainability.
The project has transformed cultivable and previously uncultivable land in parts of Gatsibo District, through the construction of terraces and water catchment areas on the hills.
Another farmer, Judith Urayaneza said; “We were really becoming afraid about our future because erosion was very washing away our lands.”
Over 4,000 people benefitted from the proceeds earned during the construction of the terraces by participating in the terrace construction project. The farmers also gained invaluable first-hand experience in advanced land husbandry techniques.
After successfully constructing terraces on a first batch of 100 hectares early this year, LWH supplied farmers with seeds, manure and fertilisers for their first planting season.
Jean De Dieu Kabanda, who represented the farmers at the celebrations, said that he reaped more than double his previous harvest
Gatsibo vice mayor in charge of Economics, Isaie Habarurema, informed the farmers to ready to plant rice soon, as the Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, is about to commence rehabilitation of the marshlands.
The RSSP marshland rehabilitation will run concurrently with the LWH construction of more terraces.
Jolly Dusabe, LWH and RSSP projects coordinator, concurred with the Vice Mayor, stating that 200 more hectares of hillside terracing will be constructed in the next phase of the project.
She urged the farmers to be inspired by the harvest to reap even more in the next season.