Despite efforts made in landscape restoration and protection of water bodies, Rwanda is still highly affected by the issue of soil erosion in some parts of the country. However, the central African country has put in place tangible measure to deal with the problem through a programme called NAPROSEC.
According to Rwanda Water Resources Board, the Government would like to accelerate the erosion control with a national initiative that was developed namely ‘National Program for Soil Erosion Control (NAPROSEC)’ around different objectives.
They include increasing awareness of soil erosion problem in the country and instigate citizen ownership and culture of soil erosion control; Promoting extensive quick win actions in erosion control for landowners to prevent soil erosion, landslide and other erosion related disasters; increasing soil productivity and avail fodder for animals and cash crops; and setting up and strengthening collective actions of task force teams at all levels (National and Local levels) assigned with soil erosion control.
Currently, the Rwanda Water Resources Board and partners have started the training of Sectoral and District agronomists on the National Program for Soil Erosion Control (NAPROSEC) and training started with agronomists from 13 sectors from Rutsiro district in the Western province.
This training was also held in Rubavu District where the agronomists from 11 Sectors were trained.
A Manual has been developed to show how to cut and handle the soil erosion control channels and Agronomists will also be trained on the use of new technology that will help them monitor and report the status of soil erosion mapping applications using their phones.
Apart from washing away the arable land, soil erosion has been causing various damages including the loss of livers and destruction of development and community infrastructures.
In a recent Interview with the Vice Mayor of Rutsiro District Mr. Havugimana Etienne has told TOP AFRICA NEWS and other media who were participating in the Media Tour to see the impacts of Sebeya Project that soil erosion is still an issue of concern in Rutsiro district hence calling for the extension of the Sebeya project activities.
Mr. Havugimana Etienne Vice Mayor of Rutsiro District in charge of the economic Development
He said “In the last 10 years, disasters have claimed the lives of six people. Maybe it’s not erosion only, but erosion is heavily affecting our district because there are rocks that have been falling on the roof of the house and killing people’s lives and in this country you know how the citizen is at the top, he should be protected, that’s why we have put efforts to fight erosion to protect the lives of the people of environment.”
In general, soil erosion is a problem because it destroys the crops, takes away the productive land and thus thanks the government for initiatives to deal with the issue.
Mr. Havugimana said, “That’s why we thank the government of Rwanda for considering that our region should be given that support; it should be given that strength to help us fight erosion.”
Last year, a collaborative study conducted by the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as part of the Embedding Integrated Water Resources Management in Rwanda project, showed that that of the 30 districts of Rwanda, land under high erosion risk was about 1,080,168 hectares (45% of the total provinces land which is estimated to 2, 385, 830 hectares) of which 71 941 hectares (7% of the total risk areas) were at extremely high risk, 190, 433 hectares were at very high risk (18% of the total land at erosion risk), 300,805 hectares were at high risk (28% of the total risk identified), and 516,999 hectares (48% of the total land at risk) are at moderate risk.
Ngororero District has the highest risk with a total of 58,003 hectares i.e. 85% of its land at high erosion risk. Muhanga district is ranked the second-highest in erosion risk with 53, 352 hectares under risk (82% of the district land) while Rutsiro district comes third with 48,143 hectares prone to erosion estimated at 73% of the district land. Other districts such as Karongi, Gakenke, Huye, Nyaruguru, Rulindo and Nyamagabe districts needs considerable attention as the risk accounts for more than 60% of the district land.
The observed erosive features in risk areas have shown that about 70,433 hectares (17% of the country land at risk) are affected by Gullies (39% of the affected land), severe gullies on 13,584 hectares (8% of the land affected land), landslides on 2,823 hectares (2% of the affected land) and rill erosion (93,831 hectares, i.e. 52% of the affected land).
Within the catchment, the upper Nyabarongo is the worst affected with 45,961 hectares affected of which 28,123 hectares are affected by rill erosion, 14,337 hectares are affected by gullies, 2,353 hectares are affected by severe gullies, while 1,148 hectares are affected by landslides. Kivu catchment area follows with 34,050 hectares affected of which 15,085 hectares are affected by rill erosion, 16,033 hectares are affected by gullies, 2,426 hectares are affected by severe gullies and 506 hectares affected by landslides.