India pledges support to irrigation schemes

The Indian government yesterday agreed to support the country’s irrigation process to strengthen the agricultural sector to sustain food security.
The Indian government yesterday agreed to support the country’s irrigation process to strengthen the agricultural sector to sustain food security. The pledge was made by Dhruv Vijai Singh, the Secretary of India’s Ministry of Water Resources, after his delegation met Agriculture Minister, Dr Agnes Kalibata. The government recently intensified irrigation to drier parts of the country, especially in the Eastern Province, where farmers normally face water shortages. The Indian government, according to the official, is ready to offer technical support to the newly established irrigation project in Kirehe District, Eastern Province. “We are strengthening our commitment to help Rwandans improve the irrigation system. Our government will be providing technical and machinery support to the new project,” Singh said in an interview with The New Times. He further noted that Rwanda has been working closely with India in this area, which is the reason his government has agreed to participate in fighting food insecurity in the country. The five-year project in Kirehe is expected to cost US$ 120 million covering about 100,000 hectares by 2017. The Indian government official observed that it used to import food, but after their independence in 1947, they embarked on an irrigation system that has now transformed the country into a food exporter. Recently an Indian firm, Jain Irrigation System Ltd that deals in mechanised farming, finalizsed plans to extend its services to the region with a base in Kigali. Kalibata mentioned that if established, the irrigation project will increase food production in the district. “The feasibility study has already been done and we are happy that the Indian government has accepted to support us. What we want is to modernise agriculture, and we think that the project will ensure more food production,” she noted. Crops to be irrigated include maize, sweet potatoes, beans, wheat, cassava Irish potatoes, among others. The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ernest Ruzindaza, revealed that the government is currently soliciting for funds to finance the project.

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