These farmers are beneficiaries of the project dubbed ‘Catalyzing Market prospects for Horticulture Small Holder Farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises in Rwanda’ funded by the European Union through European Union Development Fund (EUDF). It is implemented by a consortium of organizations including African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) Rwanda, Tearfund and Farm Concern International (FCI).
The five-year project seeks to help farmers improve produce, meet market demand and transform their livelihoods. Beneficiaries grow of chili, pineapples, onions, garlic, red cabbages, French beans and cauliflowers.
Urayeneza Emelyne is one of the beneficiaries growing French beans in Gikomero sector, Gasabo district. As Urayeneza explained, she hardly got buyers and would sell a small portion of produce due to poor market conditions. With the interventions of the project, she has been linked to buyers who pick produce in the farm.
“Before joining the project, everyone used to sell the harvest to informal markets. However, the situation has changed. The project taught us to use quality seeds, equipped us with best agricultural techniques and helped us to access good markets,” she said.
The project’s interventions have also helped Urayeneza to increase earnings five times.
“I expect to save Rwf 1 million from agricultural activities because the project has provided all necessary support, acquainting me with best agricultural practices and facilitated access to market,” she said.
Murerehe Donatha is another farmer growing chili. She has been practicing traditional farming methods until the project intervened. Murehe along with 25 women were advised to grow marketable crops which they did and reaped big.
“We were not professional farmers with little income from our produce. Today, the situation has changed for good. We have embraced best agriculture techniques and assured of buyers including Lotec Rwanda among others. We are proud to be among farmers exporting their produce,” she said.
Murerehe has increased income from Rwf 30,000 to Rwf 200,000 per agriculture season, thanks to all forms of support that capacitated her to become a financially stable woman.
The project that started one year ago, supports groups of farmers comprised of 8110 beneficiaries and plans to increase the number to 30,000.
Tearfund which coordinates the project helps farmers in technical areas to address emerging challenges as affirmed by Jolie Murekatete, the Project Manager at Tearfund.
AEE Rwanda helps farmers in land preparation, access to seeds and supervises their activities until harvesting time while FCI links farmers to markets.
The Project Manager at AEE Rwanda, Simeon Uwiringiye has revealed that farmers have improved produce, transformed livelihoods and gained increased access to local and foreign markets which a great milestone to be proud of.
The representative of FCI in Rwanda, Ngiramahirwe Maradona also expressed delight for the project’s achievements.
“We have managed to link farmers to eight buyers exporting their produce. Within one year, farmers have generated Rwf 54 million from 204 tons of chili, pineapples, French beans and onions,” he said.
The project also intends to train farmers through study trips, building cold rooms, introduce technology in agriculture and encourage the youth in vocational schools to tap into opportunities available in agriculture.
Among others, the project seeks to introduce ‘e-Hingirisoko’, an online platform meant to help farmers access market prices and serve as buyers’ source of information for available produce.
Uwiringiye has extolled the partnership with local leaders in districts of interventions, National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) for relentlessly providing best advice in agriculture and the European Union which funds the project.
He encouraged more buyers to come in and sign contract farming with farmers for more professional and secure work. Uwiringiye also called on interested stakeholders to reach project implementers on: 0789364749, 0786490340 and 0788546512.