The World Bank yesterday confirmed it will finance a Rwanda government project to provide irrigation for farmers growing on the country’s hilly terrain to increase the production of maize, beans and Irish potatoes.
The $35m financing will irrigate already existing farmland as well as an additional 7,000 hectares in the poorest regions of the country. The project dubbed the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation project (LWH) has existed for years. Figure available suggest at least some 21,180 households have benefitted.
The new funding will provide additional financing to expand LWH’s activities into poor hillside communities, and is expected to benefit at least an additional 15,000 farming households. The irrigation schemes are select districts in North, east and Southern.
“Rwanda has the highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa with 416 persons per square kilometer,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda, in a statement. “Taking steps to increase agricultural productivity and to protect environmentally fragile areas is key to achieving higher growth, reduced poverty and economic transformation.”
Rwanda’s uneven rainfall in large parts of the country, and no viable scheme for agricultural water management resulting from a lack of irrigation infrastructure – which contributes to limited agricultural productivity. The project planners say it will support new water-harvesting infrastructure, such as valley dams and reservoirs, and 500 hectares of new hillside irrigation works in areas where there is significant poverty and where crop production potential is high.