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Rwanda hails China's role in promoting agriculture sector

DATE:2015-08-04       SOURCE:Xinhua News Agency

KIGALI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- China has for years played an important role in promoting agriculture sector in Rwanda, ranging from farmer training,crop growing, water and soil conservation, a senior agricultural official said.


In a recent interview with Xinhua, Minister of State in charge of Agriculture Tony Nsanganira said recent years have seen strengthening cooperation between Rwanda and China in agriculture in terms of increasing productivity and quick technology transfer to Rwandan farmers.


"The Chinese government has contributed to the growth of agriculture sector in Rwanda through training of personnel on irrigation and mechanization technologies - China has supported scholarships for Rwandan students on short-courses and post-graduate studies," Nsanganira said.


The minister revealed up to now over 100 Rwandese professionals have accepted training in China on technology based agriculture, especially on rice and mush room growing.


The support has culminated in the Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center (RATDC), which is a Chinese supported institution based in Huye district in the Southern province, said Nsanganira.


The center has been training Rwandan farmers in mushroom and rice production, soil conservation and sericulture.


Chinese construction firm, China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) was in 2011 contracted by Rwandan government to construct the first ever sprinkler irrigation system and livestock watering system of the country in the Eastern province, an area prone to droughts.


"With the introduction of sprinkler irrigation, farmers are now able to produce enough food to meet their daily needs and extra for sale. From the previous low yields of maize and beans 0.5ton per hectare and 0.1 tons per hectare respectively, farmers are now getting as much as 4.5tons per hectare and 2 tons per hectare for maize and beans."


The livestock watering system aims at supporting the livestock farmers in Nyagatare District to access water for their livestock. The system is gravity fed and provides watering points for livestock as well as for rural communities.


Nsanganira said that the systems provided a practical and sustainable solution to modernize agriculture in Rwanda and contribute to the government's target of achieving commercially viable agriculture and providing a better livelihood to rural communities.


He hailed CGC's fidelity as a contractor in providing easy access to quality equipment and materials for the construction of the irrigation and water supply systems.


The small post genocide country has registered impressive rise in agriculture sector in the last 10 years with about 5 percent growth rate annually.


Nsanganira said he expects more engagements from Chinese government and Chinese firms in techonology transfer so as to enable Rwandan farmers to increase productivity.

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