Gashora marshland has been cleared and can now be used as a productive land, having been approved fit for agriculture. The 750 hectare land will be used to grow rice and support horticulture. The economic activity will see the economy of Rwanda rise drastically as the added land will play a significant role in food increase for the country.
The launch of the cultivation was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources for the Bugesera District-based land. The activity will take place in a joint venture project under public-private partnership.
More than 400 hectares have been distributed to residents of Gashora, Juru, Ririma and Rukumberi sectors that surround the marshland for rice growing, while the rest will be allocated to growing vegetables.
Some 1,571 selected farmers were organised in two cooperatives and trained in modern farming techniques through field schools and each was given a plot in the marshland.
The State Minister for Agriculture, Fulgence Nsengiyumva, who officiated at the Thursday launch, promised government’s support and urged the residents to use the marshland sustainably.
“Take care of infrastructure in this marshland, otherwise you won’t develop yourselves. We have confidence that you will put it to good use and we don’t expect you to deceive us,” he said.
According to farmers, the marshland is an opportunity to improve their welfare.
“I had a tiny piece of land that could not satisfy me. Now that I have got this one, I will work harder to rid myself of poverty,” said Constance Mukandekezi.
Antoine Kamananga, another farmer, said: “We are glad to have received this land, which we needed and we are ready to use it productively.”
Rice was selected in the project as it is one of the main staple food in the country. The marshland is expected to boost rice production and help meet market demand.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that Rwanda produces 55,000 tonnes of milled rice every season while 126,931 tonnes of rice was imported between 2011 and 2013.
PRODEV, a local company, will manage the marshland and establish a rice firm that will be producing 2500 tonnes per season, according to Félicien Mutalikanwa, its chairman. The firm is also expected to employ more than 500 locals.
“The responsibility to manage this marshland entrusted to us will yield dividents, that is our goal,” he said, promising to make the marshland a prototype in modern farming.
Part of the marshland will be dedicated to horticulture; growing of vegetables such as French beans and green pepper for both export and local consumption.
Gashora marshland development started in June 2014.