A new project to help farmers severely affected by last year’s flood in Kirehe district has been launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in cooperation with the Rwandan government. Over 50 hectares of rice and almost 4,000 hectares of cultivated land have been flooded and nearly 90 livestock have been destroyed. The majority of Kirehe people depend for their own consumption on casual agricultural work and livelihood farming. The region has experienced a prolonged drought, with the recent heavy rains triggering extreme floods and landslides.
The UN Food and Agri-Food Organization (FAO) project “Emergency support to rehabilitate and enhance the agricultural production capacities of farmers affected by floods in the Kirehe district,” will provide the affected homes with inputs including seeds and fertilizers in order to restart crop production and rehabilitate sediment-destroyed irrigation infrastructure In addition, for the entire farming season, 3,000 farmers are charged cash-for-work payments to meet livelihood needs. There will also be a regeneration of about 250 hectares of cropland.
Martin Ager, Land and Water Officer for FAO in Rwanda said: “Advance planning to deal with serious floods can significantly reduce the social and economic impacts, while rapid action can reduce the potential effects of floods. The project will construct progressive terraces with ditches, plant agroforestry and fodder grasses, and install water retention ponds with dam sheets. Natural drainage canals with grass to fix the soil will also be constructed for preparedness and response to future shocks.”
It will also play an important role in supporting other District-specific programs to reduce flood and slide impacts by encouraging rapid re-establishment of agricultural production. “This emergency intervention will enable farmers to rebuild their farming systems and get back to their normal lives. The fact that they will be working on their own fields for a wage will motivate them to restore their livelihoods quickly. This support comes at the right time as it will complement our budget for the intervention”, said Florentine Uwimpuhwe, Director of Corporate Services for the Kirehe district.
The implementation process will enable farmers to benefit from capacity growth on a sustainable basis in future disaster management, with 50 technical facilitators and 3 000 farmers who are trained in preparation and reaction to future shocks.
Rwanda is ranked 131st out of 178 countries, a region with high vulnerability to climate change, according to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index. Floods and slopes are among the major disasters in different areas of the country that have had a significant and negative impact on food security, health, the environment and infrastructure.
Data Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)