The New Times (Kigali)

11 August 2014

Rwanda: Govt to Prioritise Agric Technology, Premier Says

The Government is committed to enhancing technology use in agriculture to accelerate economic development.

Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi made the disclosure while addressing local leaders and other stakeholders in Eastern Province yesterday.

The premier, who was accompanied by the Minister for Agriculture, Geraldine Mukeshimana, and State minister for Social Affairs Alvera Mukabaramba, was touring irrigation schemes in Kayonza and Kirehe districts.

He visited a modern farm under irrigation farming in Ndego Sector, Kayonza District, which has been under production for nine months.

The modern farm has seen maize and soya growing flourish and the potential is promising.

The farm belongs to Bralirwa and Minimex Corporate Company (Bramin), a joint venture Bralirwa and Heineken Group brewery of Rwanda.

Minimez is the leading maize milling company in the country.

"Agriculture technology is a priority. It offers maximum and sustainable production of cereal crops like maize, beans and soya," PM Murekezi said.

"The irrigation scheme's activities are commendable. It is interesting to apply machinery like combine harvesters."

The premier said irrigation would help maximise the proper utilisation of natural resources.

"We must make good use of the water sources around. This, coupled with use of high level machinery, will certainly boost agriculture," he said.

Investing in irrigation

According to the company managers, the total investment in the scheme amounts to Rwf2 billion.

The investment cost per hectare for irrigation equipment is $3,694.

Brahim intends to invest Rwf441 million to bring the farm to full irrigable potential land of 452 hectares.

Earlier in the day, Murekezi visited irrigation schemes in Nasho Sector in Kirehe District, where he challenged agronomists and technicians to be more systematic in the farming.

"Land consolidation would make more sense if you utilised the land in a more organised way. Don't scatter your activities. I wouldn't mind having 100 hectares in one area as opposed 300 that are fragmented," Murekezi said.

The premier urged local leaders to ensure that agriculture production is not limited to some seasons.

"With agriculture we expect production to be the same throughout the year," he said.

The farm owners, however, expressed concern about the absence of electricity on the farm that leads to high costs of running irrigation system.

The Japanese government last week agreed to give Rwanda a financial grant worth $15 million (about Rwf10 billion), to develop an irrigation scheme in Ngoma District.

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