Rwanda Funds Initiative to Help Farmer Mitigate Drought

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Dry bean trials are seen here in the Gicumbi district of Rwanda. MSU's Jim Kelly has been working to introduce more durable crops and educate the farmers so they can grow more nutritional food and improve their livelihood.
Dry bean trials are seen here in the Gicumbi district of Rwanda. MSU's Jim Kelly has been working to introduce more durable crops and educate the farmers so they can grow more nutritional food and improve their livelihood.
Dry bean trials are seen here in the Gicumbi district of Rwanda. MSU’s Jim Kelly has been working to introduce more durable crops and educate the farmers so they can grow more nutritional food and improve their livelihood.

By Michel Nkurunziza

Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in Eastern province has announced that it is going to invest Rwf65m in training farmers on how to cope with grass scarcity for livestock during the drought period.

Livestock in Rwimiyaga sector walk kilometers seeking water and pasture.photo by izuba rirashe. About 80% of Eastern province livestock farmers facing the pasture dryness due to drought effects will be trained in storing grass for long time and its preservation to rescue livestock during drought.

The programme has been initiated after farmers showed lack of skills in grass storing techniques for livestock.

Remy Niyireba, the researcher in charge of grass programme for livestock at RAB said, 2016-2017 fiscal year has reserved Rwf65m for training farmers in storing techniques.

Niyireba says farmers will be taught new methods of planting special grass and many trees that help cows to increase milk production besides other livestock grass adding that agronomists, livestock promoters and farmers will be trained.

Recent figures show that Rwanda is facing worst drought in 60 years and has severely hurt the Eastern Province where over 23,448 hectares of crops were destroyed. The drought even resulted into 47,306 families to be affected by famine.

Many lives of cattle lost and over 32,000 livestock suffering due to lack of water and pasture. The agriculture ministry has also revealed that even dams have also dried up whereby of five dams dug in Kayonza and six in Nyagatare, only one is operational because rain immediately disappeared. Other 28 dam sheets were installed in Nyagatare and Kayonza to save life of 22,000 cattle in the area..

Odette Uwamaliya, the governor of The Eastern province, said on Sunday during a local radio talk show that the province has also been provided with Rwf 1.6bn to support about 12 sectors most affected by the drought. The money will be spent on building 12 dams that will start retaining water in September this year.

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