The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Returnees Seek Farming Land

Rwandan returnees from Tanzania who were resettled in Gatore Sector in Kirehe district, Eastern Province are seeking government support to enable them have land where they can carry out agricultural activities.

The returnees are part of the population which Rwanda Red Cross has constructed houses for in the district. Other districts where Red Cross has constructed houses for returnees include Bukora, Kiyanza, Mahama sector.

"We are so proud that Red Cross built these houses for us, but the problem remains that we need to engage in agriculture as an economic activity as well as to feed our families. But we do not have land where we can do agriculture," said Constance Mbona Impaye, a mother of two.

She says that unlike their counterparts in Mahama Sector, who have land, this is causing serious effects not only to them, but their children too.

"If we had land where we can grow crops, we shall be able to sell and buy milk for our children; this will also enable us pay of the health insurance thereby relieving government from the burden of paying this fee for us," she said.

In Mahama Sector where returnees have land to cultivate, the story is totally different. The head of the group, Sylvia Mukarwego, said that life has positively improved.

"We are working very hard to uplift our living conditions, but the most important thing is that we have food that we get from our gardens," Mukarwego said.

He urged that with food in their houses, the members are able to engage in other various economic activities; and that they are working in cooperatives. The Sector comprises of 94 homes.

When contacted about the concerns of returnees in Gatore Sector, Jacqueline Murekatete, the district Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, said that plans are underway for the district to support the returnees.

Although Murekatete could not specify the measures that will be taken, she promised that the district will use its means to make sure that the returns get land.

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