Chinese-built dam spurs Rwandan high-value farming

THE Muyanza dam built by China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) in Rulindo district, central Rwanda, has played a ‘great’ role in bringing in high-value crops, as it recently attracted reputable Rwandan agribusiness companies to grow them in the area.

The 26-meter dam is the second-highest and the largest earth-fill dam in Rwanda. It is part of the Rwandan government’s Rural Sector Support Project funded by the World Bank. The dam, completed in 2018, recently attracted a number of reputable Rwandan agribusiness companies to grow high-value crops such as chilli pepper and ginger in the area, due to the irrigation water it supplies, Rulindo vice mayor Prosper Mulindwa told Xinhua on Monday.

Among them, two companies are cultivating 255 and 30 hectares of chilli pepper respectively, while another one is cultivating ginger on a 20-hectare land.

‘Muyanza dam has played a great role in attracting the cultivation of high-value crops like chilli pepper, ginger, turmeric, garlic, french beans, chia seeds and summer flowers, because of the permanent availability of water in the whole command area under irrigation,’ said Mulindwa, who is in charge of economic development in the district.

Before the construction of the dam, there were no agri-business investors engaged in cultivating high-value crops in Rulindo, and farmers only grew food for home consumption, which produced low yield, especially during the dry season, according to the vice mayor.

The dam has significantly led to agriculture transformation in Rulindo, which is a major step towards improved agricultural productivity and household income in the area, he said, adding that it is also contributing to the growth of agriculture exports in Rwanda.

‘CGC did an excellent job in a professional way. There were no complaints from the people and workers. We appreciate the engineering work done by CGC,’ he said.

‘The construction of Muyanza dam and the irrigation system has helped me to shift to commercial farming by cultivating high-value horticultural crops because these crops require water to survive, most especially during the dry season,’ Gaspard Nsengiyumva, a local farmer, told Xinhua.

Before the dam was constructed, he could not grow vegetables and other crops during the dry season due to lack of water.

‘I’m expecting huge investment returns from harvest,’ said another farmer Viateur Bagwaneza who has cultivated chili pepper on 1.5 hectares land.

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