How Conservation Agriculture has helped Burera farmers to increase yields

On 3 May 2022 at 11:43

Some farmers from Burera District have expressed delight for having doubled agricultural produce after receiving training on conservation agriculture which also helped them to prevent soil erosion.

As the farmers testified, they had had low produce compared to expended efforts and investment. As a result, farmers would not get enough for households’ consumption and remained under the line of poverty.

Conservation agriculture is defined as a farming system that promotes minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of a permanent soil cover, and diversification of plant species.

The system also involves crops rotation and appropriate intercropping in a way that prevents soil degradation.

Farmers say that the system has helped them to produce nearly a double compared to yields they used to harvest before.

With increased yields, farmers’ livelihoods have improved that they are able to meet household needs, became food sufficient and make surplus for the market.

Zirida Nyirahabimana, one of the farmers has said that conservation agriculture generates huge returns and reduces the quantity of fertilizers.

“Before adopting the new system, I used to harvest only 70 kilograms of beans which have increased to 110. The produce contributed to our economic growth and improved wellbeing. I have subscribed to Mutuelle de Santé, provided school fees for two students owing to conservation agriculture,” she said.

Another farmer identified as Beatha Nyirantezimana has disclosed that the farming system has been very beneficial as they no longer struggle to get seeds.

“The produce from my garden has increased from 400 to 750 kilograms. I have been using part of the produce for home consumption and reserve the rest to get seeds. Besides, the quantity of fertilizers I would use apply has reduced by almost a half,” she noted.

Eustache Harerimana, the Board Chairman of Peace and Development Network (PDN), an organization which closely works with these farmers in capacity building programs has said that the time has come for farmers to be equipped with best practices to conserve soil that has been exploited for long.

“It is apparent that the soil was under use for long where it has deteriorated and resulted into low yields. We help farmers to preserve the soil to be more productive,” he stated.

John Twiringiyumukiza, a technical advisor at Tearfund and Canadian Foodgrains Bank in central Africa has reiterated commitment to continue mobilizing farmers to stick to conservation agriculture because it has proved to be beneficial to the environment and lead to increased produce.

“We want to reach hit than 60,000 farmers practicing conservation agriculture in the next five years. It will be of critical relevance towards increased yields and environment preservation,” he said.

The Executive Director of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Andy Harrington who is on a visit to Rwanda has stated that they will continue to work with organizations reinforcing farmers to embrace conservation agriculture and the government to make the program a success.

He also promised maintained collaboration with farmers to promote the farming system which is promising to mitigate climate change effects without soil degradation and contribute to farmers’ improved wellbeing.

Burera farmers have said that conservation agriculture helped them increase yields.
Conservation agriculture promotes minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of a permanent soil cover and diversification of plant species.