World Bank has approved funds to improve sustainable farming practices and irrigation as a way of boosting the income of rural households in Rwanda.
The funds will be provided by International Development Association (IDA) through the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation project (LWH), which seeks to supports a key element of the Government of Rwanda’s Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The US$35 million is expected to benefit at least an additional 15,000 farming households in addition to the 21,180 households which have benefited from the project activities that have recorded an increase agricultural yields and rural incomes.
The project will support new water-harvesting infrastructure, such as valley dams and reservoirs, and enable Rwandan farmers to deal with the problems of unpredicted rains, especially at a time when the country is facing serious climatic threats.
Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda said that taking steps to increase agricultural productivity and to protect environmentally fragile areas is key to achieving higher growth, reduced poverty and economic transformation.
Mark A. Austin, World Bank Task Team Leader noted that the scaling-up of the LWH project will continue to raise agricultural productivity and will help Rwanda achieve its vision for its transformation from subsistence agriculture to a knowledge-based economy.
During the state of the nation address 2013, President Paul Kagame said that the issues of lack of rain waters for agriculture will have to be addressed in the year 2014 as a way of boosting agricultural production which has significantly contributed to the country economy.
Between January and October 2013, exports grew by 27 percent making a USD489millionin incomes; especially from local agricultural and livestock products, Kagame said, the country will see more growth with more farmers accessing regional markets.
Agriculture drives the expansion of the Rwandan economy, and at least 73 per cent of the country’s household’s work in farming. Driven by increased investments and agricultural land use consolidation, agricultural productivity has helped to reduce poverty in Rwanda over the last decade.