Implications of Water Policy on Irrigation Performance in Rwanda. ‘’Case Study Eastern Province’’
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In Rwanda, Agriculture is the back bone of the country economy, therefore, in line with African Union Agenda 2063, SDGs and CIP program, GoR initiated different programs to develop hillside and marshland irrigation in different regions of the country. Hence, those initiatives were supported by formulation water resources policy and irrigation policy. Therefore, the general purpose of this study, is to assess the implications of water policy on irrigation performance, in Eastern Province of Rwanda. The study focused on identifying the effect of water use permit; Assessing the roles of public and private participation and Evaluating the Impact of WUAs on irrigation performance. Hence, three different irrigation sites were selected from different districts of Eastern Province, namely Gashora irrigation site, of Bugesera district; Nasho/Mpanga irrigation site of Kirehe district and Kagitumba irrigation site of Nyagatare district. A total sample of 563 farmers were selected randomly and responded to the questionnaires. In addition, WUA leaders and local leaders were also interviewed in the period of May 2018. The collected data were analysed using SPSS software, version 23, to test the significance of the result. Therefore, based on the result, the major source of water was from the rivers and lakes. Meantime, farmers from Nasho/Mpanga and Kagitumba have water use permit whereas that Gashora do not have. Therefore, having water use permit accelerated safe use of water and increased ownership of the irrigation infrastructures. In addition, during this study, the participation of public sector is much more implied, 94.3% of the respondents testified that they got training on irrigation practises at the beginning of the agriculture season. The trainings are given by government institutions through their respective cooperatives. Therefore, this training facilitates the repairing of some irrigation infrastructures damage occurs frequently in the irrigations sites. In addition, 98.6% of the respondents were member of WUA, and this study revealed that, both of WUA Nasho/Mpanga irrigation site and Kagitumba, are much stronger than that of Gashora irrigation site, due to that at Gashora irrigation site, its WUA is new and they do not have water use permit. The farmers enumerated the profit from WUA, such as getting subsidies, farm management training, easily selling their harvest and small credits from WUA which help to boost irrigation performance. But, the farmers claimed also, some challenges, like high cost of irrigation machines and insufficiency of spare party on the market, disaster; and energy source which is not enough, and those who use their own pumps, the cost of fuel is much more expensive, but the leaders are much encouraged to partner with the farmers to solve them while attracting the private sector to support the government where it is needed for the sake of improving irrigation and achieving food security.