On 18 September 2017, APEFA organized a study tour for the Yanze Horticulture Product Cooperative (YAHOPROC) members and local leaders, to witness the process of small scale irrigation, its contribution to increase the agricultural production of crops and the way to carry it out professionally.
The study tour was held in Bugesera District, mainly in Gashora Sector, where the small scale irrigation has been operated for long time and people started benefiting from it despite the effect of climate change, which is very dangerous nowadays, and Bugesera is the area the most vulnerable to drought in Rwanda.
It started from the project located in Mirayi site which grows various species of vegetable and fruits Sibomana Eric, the Agronomist who supervises the activities of this project day to day, hosted the visitors, and explained for them in details the small scale irrigation which is used to irrigate those crops. This project uses a generator to fetch water from a small lake recognized on its name Mirayi, from the lake, water is pushed up on the hillside and distributed in crops with pipes, where each crop gets water it needs accordingly. This system is called drip irrigation.
Another system used there is rainwater harvesting where a big pond has been built on the top of the field. And through gravity then water easily distributes it in the field using drip irrigation system.
This area is covered with the very healthy vegetable and fruits, which are oranges, mangoes, Lemon trees, papaya trees, chili pepper, watermelon, pineapples, among others. These crops are in , healthy, and promising to provide a good production.
From this site, participants moved to another site on Rumira lakeside, where an agricultural entrepreneur applied the very special and productive irrigation system that acts rain like, and it is called Rain-gun sprinkler irrigation system. This uses a strong generator to fetch water in the lake, and carry it in the Rain gun (a tool used to splash water all over the field) through pipes, water scatters in different direction of the field where Rain guns are fixed. Using the rain gun, water is splashed across the crops in a circular or semicircular way and falls in the form of rain.
This farmer grows healthy onions and says that he no longer fears climate changes and very long drought seasons, because he keeps his activities regardless the season. The irrigation system seems to be a bit expensive according to individual financial stability, where by only a generator for instance is worth 590,000 rfws. However, the government pays a half of amount for someone willing to buy irrigation materials, through its program called Nkunganire.
After this study tour, participants said that they have been impressed by the level on which other farmers reached, and decided to work hard from the project of Rational Use of Yanze River Water for rural Agricultural development brought about by APEFA funded with FAO. ?What we have seen requires a lot of money, but from the ponds built for us by APEFA, we will work together as a cooperative, and the government through Nkunganire program will help us. We can do the same when we are united; unity is strength. Said Annonciata Uwimana, the representative of YAHOPROC.