Published Tuesday , on 2 October 2018, 11:59:13 by Francine Andrew Mukase

Farmers in Kayonza district got irrigation machines, appreciate their participation in district performance contract (Imihigo). These machines helped them to face the dry season, that used to cause a very sturdy hunger, and some of them were forced to move to other villages to find food.

“We used to have this strong dry season and our people used to move to where they could get food,” Said Viasini Mukabatsinda, a farmer at Mwili sector in Kayonza district. Alphonse Gahaya said that the dry season and hunger resulting from it were not a particular issue; it covered the neighborhood. The food that the government was giving to them was far from being a solution to their problem.

This is when Transparency international Rwanda stepped in, in partnership with Imbaraga farmers’ organization in Kayonza, they advised and trained them to raise the voice and reclaim the participation in what were to be done for them. Since then, their main problems in agriculture started to be solved one after other.

They spoke loudly about their problems; a document enumerating all issues they encountered in agriculture was presented to the district, together with their wishes in terms of finding solutions, among others, irrigation machines.

Soon after, the district heard them and put their wishes in imihigo; they started to be solved one by one. Denis Munyaneza is the head of imbaraga farmers’ organization at district level, he said; “after that, we had a word to say about imihigo, we exposed our most disturbing issue which was dry season; as result, we got irrigation machines.”

Irrigation machine provided on subsidy [Photo by Christophe Hitayezu]

For this to happen, the government helped them to get subsidized those machines, where farmers pay 75% and the government pays 25%. Francois Karegeya, farmer at Nyamirama sector, says that nowadays they openly participate in their district performance contract.

They now irrigate they vegetables [Photo by Christophe Hitayezu]

Local leaders are relieved.

Audace Kamanzi Umutangana is the agriculture officer at Nyamirama sector, he said that they were relieved because after consulting research conducted by Transparency International Rwanda, they now know what kind of problems farmers have and they plan accordingly on how to solve them efficiently.

Left is big scale irrigation

Mr. Theophile Rugaju is the director of planning, evaluation and monitoring at Rwanda Agriculture Board. He says that after seeing that dry season was a big issue in Eastern Province, the government came up with the idea of supporting farmers to practice irrigation based agriculture. Since machines were too expensive for one person to afford it, they advised them to join hands in cooperatives. Now the hunger is about to be history in that place of the country.

Even so, they still need big machines that can do big scale irrigation; for it to be in place the private sector intervention will be needed since the government can’t cover all the country alone.