RWAMAGANA/NGOMA – Rice farmers have called for installation of new water barriers to prevent flooding of their fields.
According to the farmers, almost every rainy season, floods wash away several hectares of the crop, resulting in poor rice harvests in Rwamagana and Ngoma districts.
Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, a rice farmer in the area, said that the existing water barriers were too old to effectively control the water levels.
He warned that the November-December rains that would be good for rice growing, could instead become destructive.
“This is a known case that has not been given its due attention, yet we lose millions of Francs because of the flooding. Rice fields are washed away and the crops ruined,” he said.
Innocent Ukizuru, the Rwamagana District Agricultural Officer acknowledged the farmers’ concerns, saying his office in collaboration with other stakeholders was pushing for construction of new barriers.
“At least two hectares have so far been destroyed by floods...something must be done to check farmers’ losses. barriers are too expensive for the farmers...they cost hundreds of millions. But the government will inevitably intervene,” he said.
Gilbert Rutayisire, Ngoma District Agricultural Officer, said the district’s rice production was central to the farmers’ lives.
“We have to protect farmers because some of them borrow money from banks to invest in rice growing. Otherwise,” he said.