Agriculture is the benchmark of most, if not all African countries’ economy, forming the basis of the larger portion of budget allocated to the agricultural sector. With the previous challenges in the sector a number of avenues of hope have had to be looked into to ensure that the scarcity of food and insecurity of crops has been catered for the citizens at risk to suffer “starvation.”
A number of Private Sector Federation (PSF) entities in the Eastern Province of East Africa Community (EAC) state, Rwanda have been challenged to take charge as it were, in the opportunities to capitalize on the water projects that have been made available for investments especially in the irrigation schemes’ part.
Judith Kazayire, the governor of the Eastern Province, said this would ease the water challenges in the area.
“Climate change has affected water availability in the province… So, by investing in water projects, like boreholes and irrigation schemes, private sector members will gain financially and also help to reduce the impact of climate change, which benefits entire communities,” said Kazayire.
The province, a key food producer, is prone to drought and is always hard-hit by the annual long dry spells the country experiences.
The governor was speaking during the annual general meeting of PSF Eastern Province in Rwamagana last week.
She added that since over 90 per cent of the population in the province dependents on agriculture, it is essential to invest in projects that can help improve the sector and ensure sustainable production.
“Almost all residents of Eastern Province are solely dependent on agriculture. Therefore, if you invested in mechanisation or irrigation schemes, this would enhance production and hence help boost household income,” she said, adding that the area has a ready market for produce.
Speaking at the event, Eng Fabrice Habanabakize, the head of PSF in Eastern Province, said they would explore the opportunities, but noted that such projects require huge investments.
“So, we’re going to start mobilising members to raise funds to construct irrigation scheme projects and utilise the lakes and rivers in the province to water farming initiatives by residents,” Eng Habanabakize said.
The provincial PSF official said they would meet after the forthcoming presidential elections due to take place on August 4, 2017 to chart a way forward.
Meanwhile, the meeting also discussed and agreed on respecting town master plans to avail more land for agriculture activities. Currently, over 99 per cent of the 105 factories in Eastern Province are agro-based.
Vision 2020 promotes modern farming and use of mechanisation and irrigation in agriculture to spur production, increase household incomes and food security.
According the plan and the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, this and increased industrial growth will contribute significantly to efforts toward a middle-income status in the medium-term.