The World Bank Group country staff, Thursday visited three groups of farmers engaged in the Land Husbandry Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation (LWH) program, in Karongi and Rutsiro districts.
The visit is aimed at helping the staff to familiarise themselves with the implementation and progress of the program.
The team of 18, headed by WB Country Manager, Omowunmi Ladipo, commended the farmers for their hard work.
Ladipo, particularly, pointed out that there are many farmers who can learn from their dedication.
The farmers thanked the WB for the support which has reportedly changed the lives of over 3,000 farmers.
They noted how, after only one year of increased yields, they were able to build houses, buy cows, among other developments.
"Before the terraces, I didn't have anything. Now I grow Irish potatoes and wheat, and I am able to sell the surplus,” Clarenance Siborurema said.
Jolly Dusabe, LWH/RSSP Project Coordinator, announced that irrigation dams would be in place next year.
The WB Country Manager advised the farmers to focus the lessons taught through LWH, to ensure that when the project closes, they will be able to move on.
"Today we saw farmers that were able to build their own houses, and live a better life. You do not see that in many places," she said.
LWH aims to prepare 12,000 hectares for hillside irrigation and another 18,500 hectares for comprehensive land husbandry activities in the first phase from 2010-2013 in the four sites of Karongi, Rutsiro, Nyanza and Gatsibo.
It targets highly economical horticultural crops such as coffee, tea, mangoes, avocado, among others.
Donors including WB, USAID, CIDA, JICA, have made substantial commitments to the project whose objectives include increasing the productivity and commercialisation of hillside agriculture in target areas.
The project also aims at curbing soil erosion and reduced land productivity by revolutionising effective land-husbandry and irrigated-agriculture as a land management culture on hillsides, among others.
The project uses a watershed approach, inspired by the successful Loess Plateau experience in China.