By The Inspirer reporter.
Sometimes back, the hope for agriculture productivity for Eastern province’s farmers was uncertain, posing the problem to drought that devastated the crop and create a loss to individual and cooperatives in the sector.
Another issue that involved farmers’ losses was lack of knowledge on Post-harvest management that affected many cooperatives and individual farmers. It happened that a big part of expected yield could be devastated.
A long-term solution was set up by Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) in its activities of Rwanda Climate Resilient to help farmers reduce post-harvest losses besides helping them how to increase agriculture productivity.
Significant achievements are now there to celebrate as a boost made by Post Harvest Agriculture Support Project (PASP) through a memorandum of understanding based-partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI)’s SPIU/IFAD Funded Projects that involve RYAF’s young graduates in proper management of post-harvest in cooperatives supported by PASP to create sustainability.
These interventions also include market trust recovery in different value chains such as Maize and Beans, Cassava, Irish Potatoes and Dairy businesses by aggregating production for markets, supporting transformation and creating value-addition to enable smallholder farmers capture a higher share of the value.
Testimonies of some cooperatives in Eastern Province are very promising in terms of agriculture productivity that was improved and market access.
Speaking to our team, Raphael Habiyambere, the president of ‘Koperative y’Abahinzi b’Ibinyampeke n’ibinyamisogwe ba Gahara’ Cooperatives of Cereals and Grains in Kirehe District, he said: “Our maize produce increased tremendously after having RYAF staff interventions who also helped to deal with post-harvest management. Clients used to deny/send back our yields, but now we have got many clients as we managed to have good produce. Thanks to RYAF and PASP project for their interventions”. Habiyambere said.
“RYAF staff taught us how to handle post-harvest management, this year no produce was affected by Afflotoxin, while last year 20 % of the yields was attached, this year, we secured 98% of good yield and 2 percent was affected by Afflotoxin,” said Leontine Uwigize, the manager of Cooperative for Valorization of Mpanga Irrigation Scheme (COVAMIS),
“He helped us gain more than one markets. He linked us with RAB, RBSS and MINIMEX to buy our produce, we supplied, we sold 189, 487 tons.” She added.
Germain Ndayisaba, president of Cooperative of maize and beans’ farmers of Rubira-GANZA (KOAIRU-GANZA) in Gatsibo District shared testimonies of their progress, noting that RYAF CSO trained members of the cooperative to deal with post-harvest management, fighting Aflatoxin.
“He helped us build an efficient drying shelter. We reached around 150 t while before we could get 50 tons. We used to sell the produce to the middlemen, involving a kind of loss. RYAF staff helped us to gain two markets: EAX and IAF. We sold to EAX and 6 tons of maize at and 20 tons at EAX. We expect to increase the quantity and sell up to 100 tons. He said that RYAF Staff also helped them to set up saving groups,” he said.
Phocas Kuradusenge, the president of ‘Koperative Hinga Ikigori Karama’ (KOHIIKA) in Nyagatare district said that the cooperative has 47 members since 2010.
“RYAF staff used to come and train farmers on proper use of fertilizers at the beginning of every season, he trained us about book keeping strategies, he trained members on how to increase the yield, last time we signed MoU with EAX- market to buy our produce,” he said
“Before we got RYAF staff interventions, we could lose 30 % of the yield, now only 10% can be lost,” he added.
“Our recognition goes to RYAF-PASP cooperative support officer who mobilized our dairy farmers to join cooperatives. Our milk suppliers increased from 120 to 259 farmers. The CSO trained our affiliated MCCs on milk quality and hygiene.” Said Habibu Ntigurirwa, the president of Murambi Dairy Cooperative Society (MUDACOS) in Kiramuruzi Sector of Gatsibo District.
He shares testimonies of achievements, saying that RYAF staff advised dairy farmers who give antibiotics to their cows to respect the guidelines by veterinary before taking their milk to MCCs in order to avoid consequences resulted from such antibiotics.
Dorothee, the Cooperatives representative in Kiramuruzi sector, Gatsibo District said that RYAF-CSO helped to increase members of cooperatives by creating associations of farmers in cells and trained them on better agricultural prectices.
“he helped them on hygiene of milk and advised them that it is a must to sell their dairy produce at Milk Collection Centers(MCCS).
There are over 20 agricultural cooperatives in Kiramuruzi sector, growing a variety of crops including maize, beans, Irish potatoes, plus a milk collection center of MUDACOS Kiramuruzi.
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