Solar-powered irrigation project worth Rwf 250 million to boost farming in Ngoma district

On 11 December 2020 at 06:51

A total of 200 horticultural farmers from Mutenderi and Zara sectors in Ngoma district, Eastern Province are set to benefit from a solar powered irrigation project worth Rwf 250 million covering 20 hectares.

The project is implemented by Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) in partnership with Ngoma district with the aim of improving livelihoods and climate resilience of the smallholder farmers by the use of green technologies.

The Executive Director of RWARRI, Belange Uwizeye said that the project will help smallholder horticultural farmers to apply climate friendly solar pumping systems and water reservoirs made of stones and clays.

“We have already grouped farmers into groups and have the land for development of solar pump system and water reservoirs. We expect the beginning of construction activities in January so that infrastructure will have been completed by Summer. We have invested Rwf 250 million. The water reservoir to be constructed will last for 100 years at least,” she noted.

Uwihanganye Sebahire Faustin , a farmer explained that they would struggle to water their crops despite the presence of a surrounding Lake Mugesera.

“We used to water crops twice a week and would use 18 liters of fuel each time per hectare. This cost Rwf 36,000 per week because the price of one liter was at Rwf 1000. At the end of agricultural season, we counted Rwf 600,000 expenses for irrigation and payment of causal workers,” he said.

With the solar pumping system, Uwihanganye explained that such money will be utilized in other income generating activities.

Gahongayire Ancilla also revealed that fetching water from the lake was a complex process that hampered agricultural activities.

“I didn’t plant crops of my choice because I had no means to water crops. Now, I will be planting more vegetables, fruits and improve productivity with assurance of these infrastructures,” she said.

The vice mayor of Ngoma district for economic affairs,Nyiridandi Mapambano Cyriaque underscored that the project aims at improving horticultural productivity enabling farmers to become food-sufficient and engage in market-oriented agriculture.

“Farmers have been using small machines distributed under subsidy-program. We are optimistic that farmers will take advantage of the large, sustainable project to improve productivity and generate more income than ever. Moreover, the project is climate-friendly because it won’t use fuel,” he stressed.

Nyiridandi appealed on farmers to take good care of infrastructures to be made available.

The project is expected to provide job opportunities to 400 residents from Mutenderi and Zaza sectors in the construction of water pipelines and reservoir.

Ngoma district has 1000 irrigated hectares and plans to cover more 388 hectares this year.

Farmers have been struggling to water their crops despite the presence of a surrounding Lake Mugesera.