Nasho Irrigation Scheme boosts farmers’ incomes

By Elina Jonas Ruzindaza
On 12 March 2020 at 01:30

In 2015, Howard G. Buffet, an American businessman initiated the ‘Nasho irrigation Scheme’ supporting 2100 families from 14 villages and 4 cells in Nasho and Mpanga, Kirehe district. The irrigation scheme allowed farmers in Kirehe to upgrade to modern agriculture and earn more income given that their yield increased from a ton per hectare to 5.5-9 tons per hectare.

The irrigation project solved the challenges of aridity and land that was too barren to support crops. In 2017, Buffet invested $54 million through relocating 143 families which lived on arable land to public housing and preparing 1100 hectares for cultivation.

Prepared land is currently used for maize, beans, and soybeans cultivation. Yields are sold back to Buffet who exports it or sells it in local markets. A part of the 1100 prepared Hectares is used for fruits growing which are given to children in Kirehe to promote Early Childhood Development.

Dr. Ndambe Nzaramba Magnifique who coordinates irrigation activities in Nasho valley said that before the project was initiated, farmers had low yields. After adding compost and irrigation, farmers can now earn Rwf 650,000 per hectare of yield.

Kansangire Violette, a farmer, and resident of the Nasho sector said that before the irrigation scheme was introduced, she reaped only a ton per hectare but currently she reaps at least 12 tons per Hectare.

“Over the past 3 years, we have seen a significant increase in yields. Before the irrigation project was introduced, we only reaped once in three years due to aridity but currently, our yields and earnings have tripled. Some of us managed to save enough and built houses and we can afford to pay medical insurance on time among other benefits.”

Kanyarwanda Daniel, a farmer and resident of Cyambwe cell in Kirehe told IGIHE that he reaps 10 tons of maize and 3 tons of beans per hectare.

“Before our land was irrigated, we suffered due to aridity and our crops would wither year after year. We are doing very well today. I bought an Rwf 7 million house and a motorcycle and my children are healthy.”

Despite the impressive shift to modern agriculture, there still is a challenge of farmers who receive fertilizers to put in their fields but turn around to sell them. However, the farmers continuously support each other to increase yields.

Statistics show that farmers in Nasho and Mpanga sectors earned Rwf 800 million in total during the last growing season. In a bid to further support farmers in Nasho and Mpanga, Buffet plans on building a 10-km road to facilitate transportation of crops from fields to local markets and beyond.

Statistics show that farmers in Nasho and Mpanga sectors earned Rwf 800 million in total during the last growing season.
‘Nasho irrigation Scheme’ supporting 2100 families from 14 villages and 4 cells in Nasho and Mpanga, Kirehe district.
The irrigation scheme allowed farmers to upgrade to modern agriculture and earn more income given that their yield increased from a ton per hectare to 5.5-9 tons per hectare.

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