In order to find out first-hand how Rwandan farmers are benefiting through the interventions introduced by FARA and supported by various donors, the Board members visited two key field locations of the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in Rulindo and Musanze districts.
In Rulindo, the Board visited the Kotemu Cooperative, where farmers have achieved new prosperity through cultivation of Orange-flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), which was introduced by the FARA project Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA).
The members of the cooperative, most of whom are women, were dressed in bright orange shirts bearing the slogan Turye ibijumba bikungahaye kuri Vitamine A! (Let’s eat sweet potatoes rich in Vitamin A!). The women prepared an array of baked OFSP products. One, which they called ‘DONATA Doughnuts’, so impressed Dr Tiemoko Yo, Chairman of the FARA Board, that he exclaimed ‘This is the best cake I have ever eaten!’
At the Musanze site in the village of Gataraga, Irish potato farmers were similarly expressive about FARA’s work through the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA CP). When Professor Monty Jones, Executive Director of FARA, asked the farmers what specific improvements in their lives had come about as a result of the FARA initiatives, he was overwhelmed by the immediate and varied responses of the farmers. One had been able to build a new house that he rents to a tenant. Another had been able to place her children in school, including one in university. Yet another had purchased a motor vehicle for transporting her crop to market. One after another, the farmers demonstrated their enthusiasm and satisfaction with the SSA CP project.
- For a look at selected photos taken during the visits to the DONATA and SSA CP sites, click HERE
- 30/05 New Times: From farmer to businesswoman: Why Mukankusi is making it big in Irish potato business
- 01/06 New Times: Meet the farmer whose cooperative has transformed a village
- 25/05 AllAfrica: Rwanda: Experts Commend Country’s Agricultural Policies