RWANDA – The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has partnered with Rwanda in funding the US$80 million (Rwf71bn) Kayonza Irrigation Integrated Watershed Management Project (KIIWP) aimed at improving food security.

According to a New Times report, the project will be implemented in two phases, with the first phase taking up at least US$20.93 million (about Rwf18.7bn), while phase two will cost US$59 million (about Rwf53bn)

Recently, the Minister for Agriculture, Gerardine Mukeshimana, and IFAD President, Gilbert F Houngbo, signed a US$17.7 million (Rwf15.5bn) agreement to finance the first phase of the project.

IFAD will provide a total of about US$43.4 million for the project in form of a concessional loan.

The project will strengthen resilience to drought through investing in catchment rehabilitation, livestock and domestic water infrastructure development, and the establishment of efficient infrastructure management institutions.

According to Dr Sirikare Sylvestre, Research Fellow at Rwanda Agriculture Board and the Project Design Lead Scientist, it will consist of supplying water for livestock, catchment rehabilitation and protection of areas where rain fed agriculture is practiced.

 “The project will contribute to poverty reduction in the drought prone area of Kayonza District namely Gahini, Kabare, Kabarondo, Murama, Murundi, Mwiri, Ndego, Rwinkwavu,” he added.

The project has a timeframe of 30 months and is projected to reach out to 50,000 food insecure rural households.

It is expected to improve the resilience of smallholder farmers to droughts and effects of climate change through increased levels of production and productivity of selected food and cash crops, livestock and improved market access and business development. 

The project will integrate strategic commodities that are central to the main livelihoods of farmers in Kayonza District, include paddy maize, potatoes, soya, as well as horticulture crops.

Korea and Rwanda to explore agri-tech solutions

Meanwhile Korea has affirmed that its will continue to support Rwanda’s agriculture sector especially through information communication technologies to optimise farm productivity.

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Vice President for Africa, Middle East and Latin America programs, Baek Sook Hee, said that developing ICT initiatives will spur the economic development in which 70 percent of the population live by agriculture.

“So, the first thing is to support the development of the agriculture sector by providing new agricultural technologies and extension services,”

“We have another project we are preparing to support Rwanda’s agriculture sector because it is the key issue to move the country from least developed countries to middle-income countries. If we don’t develop the agriculture sector, we cannot reach that goal,” she said.

KOICA is one of Rwanda’s main partners in agriculture sector and is currently implementing a US$12.5 million (Rwf10bn) project in which it funded a total of US$11 million.