1750ha earmarked for rice farming in Nyagatare

As part of the country’s goal to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture has allocated a huge marshland in Nyagatare District, covering 1750 hectares, for cultivating rice.
A rice field. The govt aims to make Rwanda a rice-exporting nation within 7 years. The New Times / File.
A rice field. The govt aims to make Rwanda a rice-exporting nation within 7 years. The New Times / File.

As part of the country’s goal to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture has allocated a huge marshland in Nyagatare District, covering 1750 hectares, for cultivating rice.

Under the Rural Sector Support Project, (RSSP), Muvumba Marshland Rehabilitation Project is funded by the World Bank.

The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, said: “Of the 1,750 hectares, over 200 have been reclaimed and ready for cultivation, while an additional 750 hectares will be ready for cultivation by the New Year, which marks the start of the rice cultivation season B.

“Our target is to harvest 22,000 tonnes of rice every year from the marshland, which will significantly contribute to the annual rice production in the country and reduce the current importation burden.”

A statement from the ministry states that most of the infrastructure for the project is complete.

“The main dam that will divert water into the rice fields is complete whereas three other dams have also been completed. The primary canals are complete, and the secondary canals are 75 percent ready,” the statement reads.

According to Kalibata, the country consumes approximately 55,000 tonnes of rice every year.

“From our plan to cultivate in 100,000 hectares of land under the RSSP, 50 percent of which will be used for rice production, we are certain that within 7 years we will have enough rice, not only for local consumption, but to also for export.”

The ministry says the project employs more than 3,300 casual workers, all local residents of Nyagatare District.

ivan.mugisha@newtimes.co.rw

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