Howard Buffet launches $54 million Irrigation Scheme in Rwanda
The Howard G Buffet Foundation (HGBF) in partnership with the government of Rwanda on Wednesday launched a state-of-art irrigation project in Nasho Sector of Kirehe District. This partnership seeks to modernize Rwanda’s agriculture sector and specifically improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The $54 million irrigation scheme also consists of a solar power plant with a capacity of 3.3 megawatts to power the irrigation system. The scheme has been operational since the agriculture season 2017A, and is made of 63 centre pivots irrigation system, irrigating 1,173 hectares belonging to 2,099 smallholder farmers.
The Nasho Irrigation project will also see 144 houses (36 houses that are four-in-one) constructed, to resettle households from areas under pivot irrigation, and farm buildings. The project intends to improve on-farm productivity of crops through investments in proper land, water, and inputs utilization for enhanced food security among Rwandan farmers.
Buffet said that following the successful implementation of the project and impact on the beneficiaries, they had decided to continue the partnership through the establishment of a research and extension centre. The centre which he dubbed as a “powerhouse of research and extension that does not exist in Africa,” will also connect the Nasho Sector of Kirehe District with Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) in Bugesera District.
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The connection of the two areas will lead to the creation of the continent’s largest agriculture research and extension. “We came to an agreement with the government to finish the road that will connect RICA and Nasho, we have come to an agreement on how we will be able to complete it. About 36 kilometres of road,” he said.
“With the opening of RICA, we have an opportunity to connect RICA and Nasho and establish, we are going to create a powerhouse of research and extension that does not exist in Africa,” he said, while commending the commitment and leadership of the Rwandan government, which he said had enabled the cooperation.Howard Buffet with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame
Howard Buffet, the son to Warren Buffet, a great friend of Rwanda, has various projects in the country financed by his foundation, the Howard Buffet Foundation.
In 2015, the billionaire expressed an ambitious plan to invest up to $500 million (about Rwf 345 billion) to support Rwanda’s agricultural development. To that end, Howard Buffet donated $500 million to Rwanda in 2017 to support agriculture and other initiatives, one of which is the irrigation scheme.
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