Life will not be the same again for farmers in the Southern district of Nyanza as President Paul Kagame today commissions a $9.5 million dam.
The dam will facilitate irrigation of 300 hectares of uphill land.
Nyanza district mayor, Abdallah Murenzi, told KT Press that the new dam “will irrigate 75% of hillside land that has not been utilised for decades. It’s a miracle coming to our farmers.”
According to officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, the dam has the capacity to produce water that will irrigate 301 hectares of uphill land in the district.
The project was funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture under Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation project (LWH).
The uphill land to be irrigated, Murenzi said, had been vacant due to its hilly terrain that covers the sectors of Rwabicuma, Nyagisozi, Busasamana and Cyabakamyi sectors in the district.
“Our farmers have only been harvesting on 25% of this land. Now that the project makes it 100% covered, we expect the economy to shoot up to 90% because our residents depend on farming,” he told KT Press.
Esdrad Byiringiro, the project coordinator, told KT Press that the land to be irrigated will target vegetables growing.
“Rwanda targets international markets for vegetables. Part of the project will facilitate farmers to grow vegetables that are of high quality,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Trade, there is a growing demand for Rwandan vegetables abroad, with most of them exported to UK, Belgium, Netherlands and France, while others go to neighbouring Burundi and Uganda.
Since 2011, vegetables have boosted the country’s exports value by $20 million with an average of 7% growth every year.
Meanwhile the World Bank continues to support Rwanda’s development agenda, especially in the sectors of agriculture, energy and construction of road networks.
In May this year, the Bank announced $1 billion extra support to Rwanda in the next five years, including irrigation of 14,000 hectares of land and improve rural roads enabling farmers to connect to new markets and increase their family incomes.
The President is expected in the district as part of citizen outreach programme in the province.