The Ministry of Agriculture has set aside over 100,000 hectares of marshland across the country for agricultural development to boost food production.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ernest Ruzindaza, disclosed this Tuesday, during the launch of the Bahimba Marshland Development Programme in Bushoki, Rulindo District.
He said the project would be completed over the next seven years.
“We have set up a development programme for the marshlands to explore the best ways the country can benefit in terms of food production,” said Ruzindaza, promising his ministry’s support to residents in setting up development projects in marshlands.
The 327-hectare Bahimba marshland is the largest in the country’s land reclamation programme.
According to Rulindo District officials, the marshland which was once heavily affected by flood waters during the rainy season is now productive.
A task force from the agriculture ministry has been assigned, in the last eight months to transform and modernise the marshland through irrigation and mechanisation.
Bahimba currently supports the cultivation of various crops including maize, potatoes and cabbages, according to the task force officials overseeing the project. Its development cost a total of Rwf2 billion.
However, according to the task force, once well developed, the marshland could bring in profits worth over Rwf500 million per season.
Ruzindazi said over 1,500 farmers have benefited from the Bahimba marshland programme.
Residents expressed concern over streams emanating from hills adjacent to the marshland. However, the ministry said plans were underway to seek the best ways to solve the problem.
The district Mayor, Justus Kangwagye, hailed area residents for their role in the transformation of the marshland into a productive one.
He added that more vegetables ideal for the area including carrots would be cultivated in the area.
He further appealed to the government to put up feeder roads connecting to several markets in the district to ease transportation of produce.
Ruzindazi promised to set up a collection centre to enhance access to markets.