Rwanda East: Where Agriculture is improving, Poverty and Access to Clean Water remain priorities

Farmers in Eastern Province have commended the progress made in Agriculture despite challenges originating from climate change and its adverse effects on the harvest especially during drought season.

Crops grown in the Eastern part of Rwanda include banana, Maize, beans, Soja, rice and Coffee in different sectors among them there are about 7 sectors of Gatsibo District.

Last week our Reporter visited the Eastern province and had chance to interact with farmers as well as community facilitators who confirmed that “If you compare with the last Five years, the Eastern Province is improving in various sectors especially in Agriculture.”

Citizens said that they travel long distances to find clean water

“But there is still water scarcity challenge. Residents are still doing long distances to find water for domestic use and water for livestock,” Said Nduhungirehe Faustin, Multi-sector facilitator for Food for the Hungry Rwanda Association.

He added that “Still on access to clean water, there are some parts where you find water pipes which are not functioning. Once these pipes are connected to water I think the problem can be minimized.”

However, on that issue, MANZI Theogene, the Vice-Mayor in Charge of Economic Development in Gatsibo told TOPAFRICANEWS on Wednesday that “The District is aware of the water access problem and this is one of the priorities of the district.”

Manzi explained that for instance in Nyagihanga sector where our journalist visited, “We are doing whatever possible to solve the problem. Currently as you have seen there are water pipes already installed and what is remaining is to install the water pumping machine as you have seen it is a hilly area so that there is a need of pumping machine.”

MANZI Theogene, the Vice Mayor in Charge of Economic Development in Gatsibo District told TOPAFRICANEWS that the District is concerned of the challenges that are hindering the well-being of citizens

He explained that currently there is a construction work of water lines that will connect water to citizens in Gahengeri-Kabarore and Nyagihanga.

The vice Mayor also agrees that the agriculture is improved especially for banana and coffee farming.

However, despite some positive change there is still rampant poverty among citizens in some areas.

Manzi said “On the issue of poverty, we always encourage citizens to join in cooperatives where they can join hands and the district also will not decline to support their cooperatives.”

Eastern Province Farmers said most of the time climate change affect their crops

Apart from joining in cooperatives, Manzi also added “There is another problem of community settlements. You will find that citizens’ houses are scattered and that challenge the district for instance in connecting them to infrastructural facilities.”

According to the Fifth Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV5) which was conducted from October 2016 to October 2017, the Eastern Province poverty is rated between 18% as the lowest poverty rate and 44.8% as the highest Poverty rate.

The findings showed that the poverty is rated at 44.8% in Nyagatare, 44.6% in Kirehe, 42.1% in Gatsibo, 40.3% in Bugesera, 37.8% in Ngoma, 26.7% in Kayonza, 18.9% in Rwamagana

Nyagatare and Gatsibo are the Districts with the highest number of people who live in Extreme poverty in the Eastern province and they are rated at 20.1%, 18.8% respectively.

Livelihood improves

From the EICV 5 results, most livelihood dimensions continue to improve; from demographics, housing conditions, economic activity, access to electricity and technology among others while some few but key livelihood dimensions like education are stagnating.

However, a substantial number of households in Eastern Province experienced shocks last year (drought, high food prices and others) as residents confirmed to TOPAFRICANEWS Reporter.

Poverty and extreme poverty did not reduce significantly, according to the survey findings.

Water access in Rwanda

In Rwanda at provincial level, Kigali City ranks first with the highest percentage of households (96%) using improved water sources.

 It is worth noting that the Kigali city has the largest increase in use of improved water sources by 11% points between 2013-14 and 2016-17 compared to all other provinces. The higher percentage of households in Kigali rely on piped into dwelling /yard (34%) and public stand pipes (46%) for their water.

By contrast the Eastern Province ranks fifth with the least percentage in two rounds of the survey

(81% in EICV4 and 83% in EICV5) using improved water sources.

On the other side, the Northern Province experienced a decline in the percentage of households using an improved drinking water source from 91% in EICV4 to 87.5% in EICV5; it shows a decrease about three percentage points, as for the remaining three provinces all have experienced a modest increase of about two percentage points between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

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