Farmers in Eastern Province are facing double losses after mega irrigation projects failed to kick off.
One of the two irrigation projects was the construction of water in Mahama sector in Kirehe district, which was meant to providing water for nearly one thousand households in their farming activities.
However, over one billion Rwandan francs worth project never bore single fruit. Under the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Rwanda’s partnership, the project was envisaged to provide water for irrigation, covering nearly 500 hectares, as well as the livestock of the farmers.
“As they were going to build the dam, we forfeit some of our farms because we were expecting to get other farms to get irrigated so that agriculture can continue unhindered even in the dry season,” said Eleazar Birikumana, a resident of Mahama sector.
After the dam construction works were completed, the remaining puzzle question has been on how to get water to fill in the dam, which is now half full, so that crops around the area can be watered.
Farmers said in addition to not getting the targeted benefits from the project, they can’t even get back their farms that were submerged by the water dam, the water that is currently not enough for irrigation activities.
“It's double losses we incurred. Though the concept was good, the outcomes have been contrary to the miracles we were promised to get after the project completed,” said Bernard Mvutse, one of the residents who were meant to benefit from the project.
“We largely rely on this valley for farming in this area and we used to cultivate soya bean, maize and beans in this valley; after they took up our farms for the dam construction, we have been left stranded,” said Mvutse.