Govt sourcing Frw109 billion to scale up agric. production

A least US$200m (about Frw109b) is to be injected in the agriculture sector. A move that may scale up crop production, boost household incomes and ensure food security in the country.

A least US$200m (about Frw109b) is to be injected in the agriculture sector. A move that may scale up crop production, boost household incomes and ensure food security in the country.

According to officials from the Finance Ministry, the money will finance irrigation and help in soil conservation through making of contours and terraces.

Rwanda’s hilly landscape makes the soils vulnerable to erosion and prone to soil infertility as better soils are always washed away.

The four years project land –husbandry, water –harvesting and hillside irrigation (LWH) will be coordinated by the ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (MINAGRI).

"This was decided during the government retreat at Akagera to scale up investments in agriculture as government’s contribution to food security," said James Musoni, Finance and Economic Planning Minister.

The planned investment comes at a time Robert Townsend, a Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Agriculture Unit appreciated that food production in Africa is increasing and that the higher prices in Africa are not caused by a supply shock.

But he hastens to say that agriculture has to grow faster. And this growth, according to the economist, can only be spurred by use of better seeds, more fertiliser, and better methods of cultivation to double yields.

Townsend said use of conservation tillage can assure that available water reaches the plants in drought-prone, areas.

He is confident, cost effective and well-managed irrigation schemes can bring reliable water supply and support production of high-value crops, he adds.

The budgetary plan constitutes 15 per cent from government, 40 percent donor grant and 45 per cent loan.

The government allocated $30 million (Frw16, 29b)—a grant from development partners worth $30m and the remaining $140m is being negotiated from China and the World Bank, as loan. Musoni said that the project is being analysed, and 10.000 hectares on the hillside are targeted to be irrigated. The water is to be drawn from 32 river dams’ reservoirs.

Coffee, tea, apples, mangoes, pineapples, cooking banana, and avocadoes are to be irrigated.

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