Farmers in the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP) intervention site in Kayonza District, Eastern Province have been urged to embrace government's interventions and make sustainable use of the agricultural infrastructure that were constructed by the Project in the area to increase agricultural production.
Jean Claude Murenzi, Mayor of Kayonza District called upon all farmers to begin fully utilising their land as that was the only way to achieve increased crop yield.
“You should lead the country’s quest for agricultural transformation based on the foundations laid by the government through SAIP and other agricultural projects in our district,” Murenzi told farmers.
He was speaking at a stakeholders meeting that was organized by SAIP to discuss ways to strengthen partnership among Kayonza District authorities, Project beneficiaries (farmers) and the SAIP authority for increased sustainable productivity of farmers.
Murenzi told farmers to protect, take good care, and make optimum use of agriculture infrastructure such as terraces, post-harvest storages and irrigation systems that were constructed by the Project to enable farmers to increase productivity.
The meeting was chaired by Murenzi and it was an interactive discussion where partnership between the district, SAIP and farmers was highlighted and strengthened to achieve the SAIP objective in Kayonza district.
Challenges affecting agricultural production in the project was highlighted in the meeting most especially the issue of hippos from a nearby dam that raid farmers crop fields destroying their crops among others. Numerous solutions to the challenges were discussed and agreed upon.
Speaking at the meeting Sarah Nyiramutangwa, Acting Manager SAIP called on farmers to embrace sustainable agricultural practices which include the use of fertilizers and irrigation farming to increase crop productivity and achieve improved incomes.
She reaffirmed SAIP’s commitment to facilitate farmers’ access viable markets encouraging them to produce more and more for home consumption and for export markets.
“SAIP is looking for sustainability and will further explore opportunities for strong cooperation to ensure that the treated land and agricultural infrastructures like irrigation systems and post harvest facilities are fully utilised by farmers,” said Nyiramutangwa.
The meeting emphasised that strong partnership between farmers, district authorities and the Project is key to achieve SAIP objective and agriculture development in the district.
One of the farmers, Pascal Kanani said that his life has dramatically improved after registering increased crop produce and he is able to get enough yield for home consumption and surplus for markets.
“We are lucky to have SAIP in our area. We expect great yield season by season because the project taught us better farming practices,” said Kanani at the meeting.
At the meeting stakeholders renewed their pledge to deepen the strategic partnerships with SAIP to implement sustainable solutions and address critical agricultural challenges in the district.
Through SAIP support, farmers in Kayonza District have taken initiatives such as the use of land management techniques, the production of compost and improved farming methods and as well as hillside irrigation scheme which have greatly increased crop produce hence improved livelihoods.
In Kayonza SAIP site, out of the total area treated with comprehensive land husbandry technologies, 875Ha are subjected to rain fed agriculture, 420Ha gross area in the command area was developed for hillside irrigation.
In the site, there are 3,319 Farmers’ households (2,138 males & 1,181 females). Farmers have been organized into 171 Self Help Groups (SHGs) spread across 15 zones. SHGs have since formed 1 strong and vibrant cooperative and 1 Water Users Association (WUA).
The project equipped farmers with an irrigation system, 3 post harvest storage facilities, 7 dryers and 1 banana produce collection centre. All these post harvest facilities have significantly contributed towards increased yield and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
SAIP’s main development objective is to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and food security of the targeted beneficiaries in the project intervention areas across the country.