The Inspirer staff
Following the development of Kajevuba marshland by the Rural Community Support Project (RCSP), bumper vegetable production have brought smile on the faces of farmers in the marshland.
Farmers attribute the increased vegetable yield to improved agricultural practices and access to water for irrigation which not only increase their incomes but also breed healthier crops for markets and their families.
Kajevuba marshland that lies in the sectors of Bumbogo, Rutunga and Gikomero in Gasabo district, benefits more than 1,648 household farmers in the area.
“Before the development of the marshland, we were cultivating sweet potatoes, yams, sorghum and cabbages. But the yield was very low and poor. We were just producing for home consumption. Now with the development of the marshland, we are producing enough for our families and surplus for local markets,” said Faustin Uwimana, President of Twunganirane Self Help group that has cultivated various kinds of vegetables including cabbage, beetroots, tomatoes, bitter tomatoes and French beans, and rotated them accordingly.
He said that vegetable yield has dramatically tripled and they have been busy with harvest this week and looking forward to take more produce to local markets.
According to Uwimana, more money in their pockets means farmers can afford to send their children to school make repairs and renovations to their homes and buy necessities like new clothes, or a motorbike to make moving around easier.
Kajevuba marshland covers an area of 65ha and is designated for cultivation of maize and vegetables.
Initially the marshland was subjected to poor agricultural methods were farmers practiced traditional subsistence agriculture in the marshland that resulted into low crop yield.
“I cultivated French beans on 3.5 Ares, and the yield is amazing. I thank the government of Rwanda and the Project for treating our marshland and making it more productive. I have also learnt improved farming practices which have led to increased vegetables’ yield,” said Emerine Urayeneza, 29, one of vegetable farmers in the marshland.
She said that before marshland development, she was cultivating yams and sweet potatoes on the same piece of land, and the yield was poor, which kept her stuck in the jaws of poverty because she couldn’t get anything for the markets.
“My friends and neighbors will tell you that I am where I am now because of farming and selling these vegetables. I have managed to buy a piece of land and a cow from the income I got from previous harvests. I come from a poor background and others even wonder how I have managed to achieve this,” Urayeneza said.
The mother of 3 explained that the Project taught them how to save and they have since opened savings account in SACCOS.
Urayeneza’s story is not an isolated one of the still unfolding success of vegetable farming in the marshland towards fighting poverty and malnutrition in the country.
“We are very busy with harvest this week. I am happy because when you look at my produce, you can see I am no longer worried of poverty any more. So far, I have harvested considerable French beans’ produce for home consumption and the markets,” said Petronilla Mukandayisenga, 60, a mother of five children.
She added: “In all the years I have been growing sweet potatoes, yams, and sorghum in the marshland, I never had a chance to produce for markets because it was too little. I only produced for home consumption which wasn’t enough as well.”
Mukandayisenga said that the harvests are extremely appealing and she can eat and sell some to pay school fees for her children.
The elderly woman is able to save 6000Frw monthly on her savings account in a SACCO.
With know-how in farming thanks to RCSP intervention, farmers are able to produce safe vegetables for the markets and increase their yields.
The results have been encouraging, particularly in the lives of the farmers. For example, most beneficiary households are now food-secure, having improved their crop production considerably. In addition, they are selling surpluses on the markets, earning extra income.
RCSP is Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) funded project implemented under the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB)-Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU).
The Project targets rural farmer groups and individuals most especially smallholders in intervention areas producing rice, maize, beans, horticulture (fruits and vegetables) and other crops
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