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EASTERN PROVINCE, (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on July 13, 2018 shows a view of trench and waterways built by China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) in Nyagatare District, Eastern province, Rwanda. Chinese companies have played a vital role in enabling Rwandan farmers to increase agricultural productivity and household incomes, a Rwandan analyst said.  XINHUA PHOTO: ZHANG GAIPING
A Chinese company’s food mission in Rwanda

By Xinhua writers Lyu Tianran, Zhang Gaiping and Frank Kanyesigye.

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- In July when the dry season dominates Rwanda, clouds of dirt billow from parched roads in the Kaduha village in the country’s northeastern part when cars roar past.

On one side of the road, fresh water in an irrigation canal is flowing through a rice field that stretches beyond sight.

Constructed by China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC), the 30-km-long canal brings water from a CGC-built irrigation dam into the farm, supplying water for 925 hectares of farm in Eastern Province throughout the year, even during the dry season.

As part of the Rwandan government’s Rural Sector Support Project funded by the World Bank, the construction works are aimed at improving agricultural production and could benefit over 1,500 farmers, said Jean de Dieu Mugiraneza, an engineer of the project.

Before the works were completed in 2016, farmers could not plant rice here as there was no irrigation system and only in areas close to small rivers could water be accessed to cultivate crops, Mugiraneza said.

Farmers planted rain-fed crops including potato, banana and maize by rivers, he said, adding that the rivers had little water during the dry season, increasing difficulties for farming.

With the works conducted by the CGC, the area now has sufficient water for farming.

EASTERN PROVINCE,  (Xinhua) -- Jean de Dieu Mugiraneza, an engineer of Rwandan government’s Rural Sector Support Project, receives an interview on a dam built by China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) in Nyagatare District, Eastern Province, Rwanda, July 13, 2018.

“In the past, the production is not good and the crops were used for self-consumption. But now farmers have good production of rice and get more benefits than before,” the engineer said.

Amuri Bizumutima was one of the beneficiaries. “I grew a small quantity of beans and maize. There was no water in the place where I grow rice now,” recalled the 32-year-old farmer, who has four children, two of whom are in school.

“We didn’t get enough food in the past. We ate what we grew and didn’t have surplus to sell,” said Bizumutima, who now grows rice in the farm covering an area of 0.2 hectare.

“Now I have surplus rice to sell and have better income. With the money earned from selling rice, I can pay for my family’s food and school fees of my children,” he said.

Agriculture plays an important role in Rwanda’s economy, accounting for 33 percent of Rwanda’s gross domestic product and engages 70 percent of the population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Water conservation and irrigation is vital to agricultural transformation and food security, said Rwandan political analyst Ladislas Ngendahimana, adding that the irrigation scheme is part of the Rwandan government’s program to lift people out of extreme poverty and strive for economic prosperity.

“Chinese companies have played a vital role in enabling Rwandan farmers to increase agricultural productivity and household incomes,” Ngendahimana said.

China and Rwanda established diplomatic ties in 1971. China has since been a key trading partner, important source of investment and major development partner of Rwanda, according to the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda.

Since entering the Rwandan market in 1999, the CGC has been running 13 irrigation and water conservancy projects mainly in marshland development, hillside irrigation and prevention of soil erosion.

The projects include the 26-meter-high Muyanza Dam, the second highest dam in Rwanda and the highest and largest earth-fill dam in the hilly country.

The CGC employs highly skilled and veteran engineers from China to design and implement projects for Rwanda, which also brings Chinese technology and experience to Rwanda, said Zhu Xinghui, general manager of CGC Central East Africa Branch.

Zhu said that the CGC, as an enterprise, has to consider economic benefits when implementing projects, but when owners of Rwandan projects  experience financial difficulties, it continues delivering projects to support the country.

Zhu, who has been working in Rwanda since 2005, has witnessed the development of Rwanda’s agricultural sector over the decade.

The country has carried out many effective agricultural projects, which benefit more and more Rwandan people and increase food production, he said.

“Delivering projects in Rwanda is a job for me, but our projects provide farmers with farmland that can be cultivated for generations,” he said. 


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