JICA pumps in US$20m in rehabilitating irrigation reservoirs in Rwanda

RWANDA – Japan Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government’s developmental organization, has handed over two rehabilitated storage dams and one new one to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda, which have been under construction for over a year.

The two rehabilitated reservoirs i.e. Cyimpima and Gashara, together with the newly inaugurated Bugugu dam with a 23.7 km long wall, will irrigate over170 hectares of marshlands in Rwamagana Province, Eastern Rwanda.

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The project which costed around US$20 million is set to benefit 1,174 farmers who grow mainly rice, maize and soybean.

“This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Japanese embassy in Rwanda, so the project is so commemorative.”

Masahiro Imai – Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda

With this project, the irrigated swamps in the Rwanda are increasing by 30 hectares as the country has a total of 589,000 hectares of marshland with only 48% irrigated.

“These facilities will increase agricultural production in Eastern Province, for Rwamagana farmers, in particular, we are really excited about this achievement, and we believe that if used productively, it will contribute to food security,” Eastern Province Governor, Fred Mufulukye, said.

The water supply project is also expected to improve agricultural production and increase farmers’ incomes.

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Commenting on the project, Masahiro Imai, Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda said, “This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Japanese embassy in Rwanda, so the project is so commemorative. I feel very honoured and proud that we complete this project on time, even earlier than expected.”

Other projects JICA has undertaken in the country include, issuing a second tranche of the 10 billion yen (US$94m) Sector Policy Loan for Nutrition Improvement through Agricultural Transformation, to assist Rwanda’s effort to tackle malnutrition.

The second tranche aggregating to 30% of the total loan i.e. equivalent to US$ 28million has been disbursed because of achievements and continuous efforts by the government to improve nutrition through agriculture transformation.

In the loan agreement signed between JICA and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda last year August, it divided the issuance of the loan into three tranches of 40 %, 30% and 30% to be received over three years.

Being a highly concessional loan, it was extended on terms substantially more generous than market loans with an interest rate of 0.01 per cent, to be repaid in 40 years, and a 10-year grace period.

The Nutrition Improvement through Agricultural Transformation programme scheduled to run from 2019 to 2021, focuses mainly on two components: food security and multi-sectoral coordination.

In addition to that, the agency recently signed an agreement with the government to provide quality vegetable seeds worth US US$950,000 to farmers.

The support, targets vegetable value chains of french beans, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, green peppers, eggplants and amaranths to be distributed and cultivated on approximately 4,200 ha across the country in 18 districts.

It is part of JICA’s contribution to homegrown solutions promoted by the Rwandan government and targets value chains that are subject to price volatility and are the most purchased in rural and urban markets.

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