Rwanda’s vegetable farmers seek to exploit marshlands

According to a 2008 report, Rwanda has 867 marshlands covering a total surface area of 278,536 ha. Farmers currently growing vegetables in a marshland in Gasabo District, Kigali City, want to be permitted to exploit other idle agricultural marshlands.

The farmers have formed the ‘Juru Cooperative’. They are cultivating over 100 varieties of vegetables, most of which came from China, Korea, Vietnam and India. But they risk being evicted any time because the valley they currently use is in the Nyarutarama area: It is set to be turned into a recreational park, including a man-made lake.

Clément Usabyemungu, the advisor to the cooperative told The New Times that they need at least five hectares for sustainable vegetable growing in marshland so that they can increase supply to residents, markets, restaurants and hotels in the city.

“We are requesting five hectares which are part of idle agricultural marshland between the Nyarutarama, Kibagabaga and Nyabisindu sectors so that we can grow vegetables, build our own vegetable shop and supply markets,” he said.

Parfait Busabizwa, the vice Mayor in charge of economic development in Kigali City has stated that the farmers should indeed organize themselves, but so that the city can consider relocating them to another marshland, designated for agricultural purposes. “Nyagahene Marshland is for a recreational park where the lake is expected to be expanded. So farmers should be ready to relocate,” he said.

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