The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has embarked on an exercise to help cattle keepers in the Eastern Province get constant supply of clean water.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, Dr Michel Ngarambe, the coordinator of livestock infrastructure support programme, said the programme will cover the three districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza.
He told The New Times that about US$ 20 million will be spent on the programme saying the project is funded by the African Development Bank.
According to Ngarambe, the ministry decided to extend clean water in the three districts because they have the largest number of cattle and have for years been hampered by prolonged dry spells.
"We are currently working on a study that will help farmers access clean water from their farms because they have been moving long distances in search of water from Muvumba river and valley dams," he revealed.
Ngarambe said cattle have been at risk of contracting various diseases like foot and mouth disease after covering long distances in search of water.
He disclosed that authorities plan to construct boreholes near the farms where water could be made accessible.
"The selected districts face severe droughts and lack enough water compared to other districts in the country, and the objective of this programme is to enable farmers in the three districts to modernise their farming for better output," Ngarambe observed.
He said that the programme will also help the beneficiaries to use the water to irrigate their farms to get feeds for their animals.
The first phase, according to the official, is being carried out on about 6,000 hectares in Nyagatare District which will be completed in March, adding that the whole study in the three districts will be completed in August this year.
He said that each beneficiary will pay a certain amount of money to pump water to their farms from either a borehole or water source near their farms.