The Government, yesterday, received a financial boost of US $12.99 million from the World Bank (WB) to support the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation (LWH) project.
LWH is a scheme under the Ministry of Agriculture, which deals with a spectrum of watershed management issues such as water-harvesting in valley dams for hillside-irrigation and horticultural development.
The fund was partly provided by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) worth $5,190,000 and $ 7,800,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which was channelled through the World Bank.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, and Mimi Ladipo, the WB Country Manager.
Rwangombwa welcomed the assistance, saying it will help improve the country’s agriculture sector.
“Investing in agriculture is key to eradicating poverty. We started investing seriously in agriculture in 2007, and since then, we have seen a substantial increase in food production in our country.”
The main objective of the project is to increase the productivity and commercialisation of hillside agriculture in targeted areas, enhancing food security and the livelihoods of the population.
The project components constitute capacity development, institutional strengthening and infrastructure development.
According to Agnes Kalibata, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the LWH project was designed to increase the productivity and commercialization of hillside agriculture in areas that are not accessible and productive.
“We have a lot of farmers who have land but do not have the means to make the land productive because it is rugged, inaccessible, arid and prone to soil erosion. This fund will facilitate farmers with the capacity to develop the land in question,” she said.
The project started last year in the districts of Karongi, Nyanza and Gatsibo, with the minister saying it will be extended to other areas as well.