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Bugesera: Rice Farmers in the swamps of Gatare and Rwabikwano are worried about a weed called “UMUSHABISHABI” that is draining water

By Cypridion Habimana

This grass is seen in the area of the Water Dam (DAM SHEET), which was prepared to store water used in rice farming and vegetables and fruits farming in sun seasons in the swamps of Gatare and Rwabikwano

and in their around, which are located between the sectors of Mareba and Ruhuha.

In the testimony given by farmers, the grass “UMUSHABISHABI” grown in these swamps at the end of year 2022, after another kind of grass called “AMAREBE” they used to remove from this Dam Sheet, all of these known to clog water, and then they started to remove “UMUSHABISHABI” in this year 2023.

Hermane Nzabonimpa, president of water cooperative that is responsible for water used in farming in swamps of Gatare-Rwabikwano known as “ISOKO Y’AMAJYAMBERE”, says that this grass absorbs water in such a way that if it is not removed, it can harm Rice farming and other organisms that are in this dam such as fishes, etc.

“This grass produced at a high level, covers water without being visible, where it reaches the level of water and logged land, if this water storage is not taken care of will dry up and will harm rice farming and harm other creatures such as fish; etc ”, said Hermane.

Alex Tuyisingize is a worker (manager) in this cooperative; says “This grass UMUSHABISHABI, you cannot see it at the water level because it is seen into the water at a distance of 60 centimeters, if you look carefully in the water you start to see its heads and you see that it is like a carpenter in the

house”

These people say that Mareba sector agronomists and Sector veterinary know this problem and the head of the department of agriculture at Bugesera district level knows it.

There is a special way they are using to remove these two grasses from farmers ‘contributions, but the intensity of UMUSHABISHABI is at a high level so it is very expensive to remove it due to financial problems, that is why they are asking a financial support from agencies responsible for the development of agriculture and those responsible for the protection of the environment in order to avoid this problem.

Head of the department of agriculture, livestock, forestry, and Natural resources in Bugesera district, Mr. Gatoya Theophile; says that he is going to visit these swamps in the third week of October 2023, and see if removing this grass is beyond the capacity of these cooperatives.

“it is our duty to go there and see how serious it is and make a report on which we will give to the decision makers” Said Gatoya

According to the date he will go in these swamps, Gatoya’s promise is in the third week of October 2023, “ I cannot tell you the date because we are busy with other works, but it will not be later than the third week of October”

Although water conservation is under the responsibility of Rwanda Water Board, the Rwanda Environment and Management Authority (REMA); says that is going to monitor and find out this plant, in order to find a solution as it is done in other lakes and rivers.

This water Dam (DAM SHEET), has four hectares of surface area and a depth of four meters that overflows when it rains heavily, these swamps on which it provides water have 84 hectares operated by two cooperatives, which are KOTIRWA and TWIZAMURE, with more than 1,000 members, that is 1,000 families, so that a lack of water would affect a large number of people.

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