Farmers in Kayonza district celebrate increased produce due to irrigation system

Farmers in Kayonza district celebrate increased produce due to irrigation system

Some farmers in Kayonza District are expressing increased production due to improved irrigation and are seeking a suitable market.

Farmers in Ndego sector, members of the Terimbere Muhinzi Cooperative, are expressing how modern irrigation has significantly improved their lives.

Before the Kayonza Irrigation and Integrated Watershed Management Project (KIIWIP) introduced the irrigation system, they used to farm and not harvest because of the sun, which affected them and resulted into poverty.

The project aims at contributing to poverty reduction in the drought-prone Eastern Province of Rwanda.

Its development objective is to sustainably improve the food security and income for 40,000 rural households and boost their climate resilience.

The KIIWP project provided farmers with self-sufficiency solutions and taught them how to irrigate their crops, overcoming the challenges posed by drought.

“Everyone is amazed that while the rest of the land is dry, we have a beautiful crop,” said Gloriose Nyirarukundo, a farmer in the Terimbere Muhinzi Ndego Byimana Cooperative.

She says that no technology is more important than irrigation. It has made an enormous difference – turning dusty, dry soil at the farm into green arable land, even outside the rainy season.

“The irrigation will allow farmers to grow a much wider variety of crops throughout the year. This allows farmers to break free from being totally dependent on a single harvest for their yearly income and food,” said Pascal Nyandwi, who leads Terimbere Muhinzi Ndego Byimana Cooperative.

Irrigation is an essential missing piece in achieving food security in Kayonza and KIIWP is introducing it across the agricultural sector. The activities at Terimbere Muhinzi Ndego Byimana Cooperative are just a hint of things to come.

The KIIWIP project, led by Uwitonze Theogene, was developed to address climate change-induced drought issues in Kayonza District.

Uwitonze says that in 2016, malnutrition, drought, and forest loss led to a project aimed at addressing these issues, aiming to alleviate poverty and improve food production and markets.

The first phase of KIIWP has been implemented since June 2019 with the cost of $20.93 million (about Rwf18.7 billion).

The second phase of KIIWP started in June 2024 and will end in June 2028; it will cost US$ 61.025 million.

Uwitonze says that the project will reach out to 40,000 rural households ( 180,000 members). Women will account for 50% of the beneficiaries, and youth and young adults for 30%.

“There is Supporting backward and forward market linkages, at the end of the project 10,000 smallholder farmers will access financial services and 2,500 use agriculture insurance products.’ Uwitonze says.

He says that three Joint Ventures are created between Cooperatives and Private Sector Companies to invest in larger storage and processing facilities through Matching grant.

The KIIWP II projects aim to improve catchment rehabilitation and protection for 1,950 hectares and develop, and manage irrigation for 2,275 hectares.

There is enhancing climate smart agriculture practices and technologies through the establishment of enhancement of 550 Farmer Field Schools, Developing farming as-a-Business skills through the training of 8,000 FFS and cooperatives members.

The 1,950 ha of land husbandry developed (Radical & progress terraces), 2,000 ha reforested for catchment
protection, 2,275 ha developed and irrigated, 550 Farmer Field School established, 480 small holder farmers access equipment through Matching grant.

Policy and institutional development

KIIWP2 intervention’s area comprises nine drought-prone sectors of the twelve sectors in Kayonza District, namely Gahini, Kabare, Kabarondo, Murama, Murundi, Mwiri, Ndego, Ruramira and Rwinkwavu.

The second phase of KIIWIP Project coordination is under the responsibility of the SPIU for IFAD-funded projects under the RAB of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

Theogene Uwitonze, Operation Manager of KIIWP project
Pascal Nyandwi, Head of Terimbere Muhinzi Ndego Byimana Cooperative.
Gloriose Nyirarukundo, a farmer in the Terimbere Muhinzi Ndego Byimana Cooperative




Johnson NDEKEZI is a Journalist covering all topics in the Entertainment World as well as Political and current Affairs.

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