By Elias Hakizimana.
Small holder farmers especially residents of the Eastern Province of Rwanda that was affected by drought are facing challenges of how they can irrigate their farms whereas they have water near their locations.
Eugene Ntagengerwa from Bugesera District in Nyarugenge sector is the president of Bugesera Agribusiness cooperative (BABCO) who experienced issues like effects of climate change, skills gap and lack of farmers’ awareness about the government’s subsidies “Nkunganire” to afford irrigation equipment.
Under the FAO project dubbed “More Effective and Sustainable Investment in Water for Poverty Reduction,” farmers like Ntagengerwa will benefit from its implementation as it is targeting to help small holder farmers explore water resources around them by using pumping technologies.
The project is sponsored by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) though the Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE) programmes, and will be executed by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
The project is being implemented in six regional countries namely: Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Madagascar. It also considers the aspect of sharing best experiences in the irrigation technologies amongst beneficiary countries.
The project also looked on market potentials for small holder farmers within its mapping systems and river accessibility.
As it is implemented in Rwanda, it will help farmers to use ground water and rainwater to irrigate their farms.
Its mapping technologies were presented this week in Ngoma District during the workshop with district water resources and irrigation engineers from the Eastern Province especially those from Ngoma, Kayonza, Nyagatare for East zone and water users associations.
Ntagegerwa said there is a hope as the government of Rwanda started the move to equip small holder farmers with needed equipment so far.
He also appreciates the workshop discussions’ outcomes saying that farmers will benefit a lot from the project once fully implemented.
“The discussions from the workshop are so interesting, we thank FAO for having organised the workshop and engage farmers for participation. Our government started helping citizens irrigate on small scale by facilitating them to get equipment on subsidies but still there is a long journey to go,” said Ntagengerwa.
He said that many small holder farmers have skills gap and capacity building issues about sustainable use of water.
“This technical workshop responds to all these issues. We believe we will have changes by the time these facilities are implemented,” said Ntagengerwa.
He requests the government to focus on Nkunganire and improve on standards of irrigation tools that sometimes get damaged due to sub-standards conditions.
He also said that farmers need to be sensitised about the role of joint effort of irrigating their farms through land use consolidation.
Jean Damascène Munyeshyaka, Water Shed and Mapping Officer at LWH/RSS/RCSP project’s technician said the technologies can help famers to irrigate in distances from water to their farms.
“This will help farmers to increase production once the project is implemented. We have seen on the map that the technics are viable for the farmers near water (lakes and rivers) to easily pump from water source to their farms,” Munyeshyaka said.
He said that such technologies can be a little bit difficult for high hills and advises citizens to focus on irrigation as a culture.
Bugesera, Nyagatare and Gatsibo Districts were identified among the potential areas with much water space like the lake Muvumba where the pumping technologies are feasible for small household farmers.
Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl
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