The New Times (Kigali)

30 January 2013

Rwanda: Karongi Irrigation Project Commended

The Programme Manager for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), Geeta Sethi, has commended Karongi district farmers for adopting irrigation mechanisms to boost their farming activities.

Geeta made the remarks after touring the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation project (LWH) in the area on Tuesday. She noted that it had substantially transformed the livelihood of the beneficiaries in Rwanda after shifting from traditional farming to commercialised market oriented farming.

Geeta expressed appreciation for the achievements registered in the agriculture sector and commended residents for spearheading their own transformation and development.

GAFSP, through a basket fund of US$50 million, supports the government's LWH project to increase productivity and commercialisation of hillside agriculture through research and extension, water and land management, agricultural value chains, and expanded access to finance.

"This is an amazing experience for me, transformation and increase incomes, schools and development take at least twelve years, what you have showed today is a miracle, you did the difficult part, the commitment and passion, the difference made in your life is a story I am going to take to other parts of the world," Geeta told residents.

Karongi vice mayor in charge of finance and economic development, Sebastien Hakizimana, called upon the beneficiaries to protect the infrastructure that has been put in place, saying the project provides income to the farmers and facilitates farmers to work with financial institutions.

The project empowers farmers to form their own groups geared towards improving their capacities. As a result, the GAFSP Programme Manager visited Icyuzuzo group, made up of 11 men and eight women to witness how farmers' capacities have been developed.

The group has managed to benefit from the saving culture, significantly improving their social welfare.

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