FAO empowers Rwanda’s agricultural officers to boost food production
Written by: George Kalisa
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 11:29
The week-long training for district agronomists and irrigation officers that ended Friday in Nyagatare, Eastern Province revived hopes of upgrading small scale irrigation technologies in Rwanda (SSIT) as beneficiaries headed the countryside with skills and knowledge that will guarantee high quality services.
Antoine Gonzaga, the director of agriculture in Rusizi district and his counterpart in Karongi said the training that was solely sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was long overdue. They were among the 35 trainees. They said that they learnt much and acquired skills which they promised to apply in a bid to boost food production.
“The training has been very useful to us and we are going to ensure that we implement what we have acquired to strengthen the small scale irrigation technologies in our areas,” said Gonzaga.
An expert with FAO said that the objectives of the training were achieved and was optimistic that with the skills and knowledge acquired by the agricultural officers from across the country, the agricultural produce will improve quantitatively and qualitatively.
He stressed that the training aimed at igniting and fueling the takeoff of implementation of a technical cooperation project titled “Support for Enhancing Small scale Irrigation Technologies.
“We faced the urgent need to enhance the capacities of district agronomists/irrigation officers and SSIT service providers to select and manage demand driven, affordable but also equitable, profitable and productive Small scale Irrigation Technologies countrywide,” observed the FAO expert.
The beneficiaries who extended their gratitude to FAO for the support said that they were ready to work with all service providers to ensure that the SSIT programme achieves its objectives.
SSIT service providers equip Rwandan small scale farmers with irrigation toolkits and trainings. To this effect, FAO officials at the concluded training expressed readiness to train the SSIT service providers in the near future to empower them in order help grass-root farmers with appropriate skills to manage SSIT.
SSIT was launched in 2014 as a solution to high costs of irrigation equipment, which was and still is a main hiccup to the growth of the irrigation subsector. SSIT is applied on the land size oscillating between 0.5 to 10 hectares.
Achieving the GDP of 11.5 per cent projected in Vision 2020 agriculture sector should grow at 8.5 annually experts in the sector say.