Kirehe: How former beggar reaped big from irrigation of bananas

On 22 July 2022 at 01:56

Julienne Niyonteze, 45, resides in Gitoma Village, Mushongi Cell of Mpanga Sector in Kirehe District. The mother of five grows bananas on one hectare.

Despite the fact that she had a farmland, Niyonteze had little hope for progress and hardly fed her family due to persistent drought in the area. Her land was almost idle.

As years went by, the Government of Rwanda introduced irrigation infrastructures in the district especially in the sectors of Nasho, Mpanga, Nyamugari and Mahama to help farmers increase produce.

Since then, Niyonteze seized the opportunity and started growing bananas, thanks to irrigation infrastructures made available.

“Before, I was a beggar living in a thatched house. One day, people came here and urged us to take advantage of a neighbouring lake. They advised me to grow bananas and water them using the lake. They gave me an irrigation machine which I used appropriately and started yielding big,” she said.

Niyonteze says that she no longer forces meal upon hard labour because she received a cow which served as a source of manure to fertilize her field.

Few years later, Niyonteze’s produce increased remarkably that she currently earns Rwf300,000 every month.

“Today, my children study without disruptions as they are guaranteed of school fees. I have also built a new house in which I live with my children. I am proud of my living conditions because I have a regular source of income where I earn Rwf300,000 from banana produce each month,” she revealed.

Niyonteze thanked the Government of Rwanda for facilitating her to attend trainings equipping her with best banana farming practices. She plans to expand arable land, and subsequently create jobs.

The Mayor of Kirehe District, Bruno Rangira says that Kirehe District has several opportunities that will help farmers to increase yields owing to irrigation infrastructures. He urges them to seize them for a prosperous future.

Today, Kirehe District has 3754 irrigated hectares from below 100 in the past five years.

It is expected that the second phase of this project will see more than 10,000 hectares irrigated in the second phase.

Niyonteze attests that she earns Rwf300,000 every month from her banana field.
Irrigation has helped Niyonteze to cater for all household needs.