New FAO project to provide urgent support to flood victims in Rwanda

New FAO project to provide urgent support to flood victims in Rwanda

12/02/2020

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda has launched a new project to support farmers severely affected by last year’s floods in the Kirehe district.

The flooding submerged more than 50 hectares of rice fields and almost 4 000 hectares of cropland and killed about 90 animals. Most people in Kirehe depend on casual agricultural work and subsistence farming for their own consumption. The district had been through a prolonged drought and the recent heavy rains led to unprecedented run-offs that caused flooding and landslides.

Through the FAO project “Emergency support to rehabilitate and enhance the agricultural production capacities of farmers affected by floods in the Kirehe district”, affected households will receive inputs such as seeds and fertilizers to restart crop production and rehabilitate irrigation infrastructure destroyed by the sediment deposits in the lowlands. Furthermore, 3 000 farmers will receive cash-for-work transfers to support livelihood needs for the entire agricultural season. Around 250 hectares of cropland will also be rehabilitated.

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.”

This project will also be key in spearheading other initiatives set out by the district to mitigate the impacts of floods and mudslides by promoting the prompt resumption 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.

During the implementation phase, farmers will benefit from capacity building in the sustainable management of potential future disasters, with 50 technical facilitators and 3 000 farmer facilitators trained in preparedness and response to future shocks.

According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index of nations’ vulnerability to climate change, Rwanda ranks 131st out of 178 countries, meaning it is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Floods and landslides are among the major disasters that have had a huge and negative impact on food security, health, environment and infrastructure across different areas of the country.