Bumper harvests as Rulindo farmers exploit irrigation for horticulture, and fish farming by extension

On 13 March 2021 at 02:20

Since 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has expended US$ 1.2 million (Rwf1.1 billion) to promote consolidated agriculture activities in Rulindo district, Northern Province. The activities are consisted of irrigation and fish farming in ponds built to collect water for irrigation purposes.

FAO Rwanda has been working with Rulindo farmers in the respective sectors of Ngoma and Mugoti growing vegetables in Yanze marshland.

The organization started supporting farmers growing vegetables and later built dams to accrue water for irrigation.

Later on, 125 farmers grouped in ‘Horticulture Production Cooperative’ (YAHOPROCO) used these dams to start fish farming through a project dubbed ‘Knowing water better’ funded by Germany.

On Friday 12th March 2021, farmers harvested fish for the first time.

Harorimana Jean Marie Vianney is one of farmers who attested transformed livelihoods from the project’s interventions.

“Harvested fish will help us to fight malnutrition at home. We will pull several advantages from fish farming because we will also sell part of the produce to meet basic needs and increase our cooperative’s savings,” he said.

Mutimanama Olive, one of beneficiaries said they had never eaten fishes and had malnutrition related problems.

She highlighted that FAO’s support is promising to transform their livelihoods.

“We had never thought it could be possible to produce fishes from the dam used to water our crops. We plan to earn much from fish sales and feed the rest to our children,” said Mutimanama.

These farmers sell a kilogram of fish at Rwf 2500 and seek to save at least Rwf 5 million so that they can buy a car to supply fish to different parts of the country.

The Assistant FAO Representative, Otto Muhinda highlighted that utilizing such water for dual purposes increase returns for beneficiaries.

“ We sought how to introduce fish farming even though their core business was initially to grow crops. We are glad that their activities are progressing well. We wanted to teach farmers on practicing consolidated agriculture. We introduced the approach here to show others that it is possible and hope the project will reach greater heights,” he said.

Farmers were also trained on best fish farming techniques and express optimism to yield big even after FAO interventions are concluded.

Farmers are delighted for fish productivity.
Rulindo beneficiaries use solar powered machinery to irrigate crops.