FAO creating opportunities in Agriculture to promote rural development.

CAPTION: A youth in rural Bugesera district, a beneficiary of the FAO’s poultry project, picks eggs from the chickens he received.

 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World every year in October observe the World Food Day. The day coincides with the founding of the Organization in 1945. FAO has a mandate of ensuring that the World is free of hunger by working with Governments to build their capacities to eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. World Food Day is an opportunity to celebrate achievements and bring awareness to the millions who still suffer from hunger. This year, in Rwanda, the World Food Day will be marked on October 26th in Karongi district, Western Province under the national theme “Investing in food security and rural development”.

Food security and rural development are connected. According to FAO statistics, today, 75% of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas. In Rwanda, about 80% of the people live in rural areas and most of them are employed in the agriculture sector. Investing in rural development promotes diversification in creation of jobs, improves food systems and consequently eliminate hunger and unemployment and there will be less people moving to urban centres

FAO has been supporting the Government of Rwanda to response to climate change effects that have caused long dry spells in some parts of the country and increasing rural employment through projects in agriculture. FAO-Rwanda has also provided technical skills to farmers to develop their entrepreneurial capacities.

Jean de Dieu Habiyaremye, a Nasho  Sector based farmer,  practices irrigation in his agriculture activities mainly ,banana plantations , tomatoes , peppers and other vegetables . He argued that, since he joined irrigation things are no longer the same, as they are enabled to plant seasons.

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A woman harvests tomatoes from the Green house FAO built for rural women in Nyaruguru district to improve their incomes.

Promoting small scale irrigation technologies

Investment in food security means investing in technologies to support farmers adapt to climate change. In 2016, FAO provided small scale irrigation equipment to farmers in the districts of Nyagatare, Kayonza and Kirehe, areas that are most prone to harsh and long dry spells especially in the Agricultural season C, from June to August, always experiences a long dry spell.Some farmers who had never used irrigation technologies this year were able to grow crops even in the dry period. Munyeshuri Charles, a farmer in Nyagatare district was supported to extract water from underground using solar energy. He uses the water to irrigate his farm-field and the pasture for his livestock.

Poultry project reducing poverty

Through the poultry component of the African Solidarity Trust fund (ASTF) project, FAO distributed layers to beneficiaries in the districts of Bugesera, Gakenke, Gisagara and Ruhango towards diversifying agriculture with the aim of reducing poverty and improving their families’ nutrition particularly in rural Rwanda. The project is directly supporting 225 beneficiaries including rural youth that were unemployed or underemployed and rural vulnerable households. This is currently the young farmer’s first full-time employment. 

Eric Hakizimana, a resident of Ngeruka Sector, Bugesera District, is one of the beneficiaries of poultry project.  A year had passed without a job after completing a course in Computer Science and Management.

In December 2015, he got 330 layer chicks, a well-built poultry house with feeds for the first four months, trained in business management and poultry keeping skills. When the hens began laying eggs, he earned Rwf 150,000 per month; sold them off when they stopped laying, fetching Rwf700,000 that he used to restock 630 chicks.

“I restocked in January this year.  After 5 months, I now do sell eggs worth Rwf400,000 per month.” Hakizimana looks forward to expanding his poultry to 10,000 birds by 2021.
Another beneficiary from the poultry project, Jeanne Aurore Umuhoza, 27, from Gisagara District was supported from zero that to having 627 layers today which lay 3,150 eggs per week generating at least 130, 000 per month.

Her business now employs two young people and hopes to employ more when the business expands. “I plan to purchase an incubator and shift  from importing chicks. I want to have at least 5,000 layers by the end of this year,” Jeanne says

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Irrigation: A man turns on raingun sprinkler FAO gave to his cooperative CODAR in Nyagatare

Empowering rural women to improve food and nutrition security

The Joint Programme project “Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women” (RWEE) was launched by three UN agencies, UN Women, WFP and FAO in Nyaruguru district in Southern Province. It was aimed to secure rural women’s livelihoods by increasing their incomes, improve food and nutrition security and enhance their participation in rural institutions. The project was implemented through the farmer field and Life School (FFLS) approach where beneficiaries received support in the form of sensitization and trainings on nutrition, hygiene, conflict management, family planning, and other life skills such as entrepreneurship. FAO also distributed agriculture inputs such as the fortified beans, sweet potatoes cuttings rich in A vitamin, a young female pig and training on building a kitchen garden.

Alfonsine Nyirabagenzi, the president of Urumuli  Cyahinda Cooperative  with 201 members, is among the beneficiaries of RWWE project. She says that, through the Farmer Field and Life School (FFLS) approach started in 2016, the project trained them in various ways empowering them to become professional rural farmers as well as polishing important life skills mainly, nutrition, hygiene and family planning, among others.

“Before the support through the project, we were very poor, ignorant about proper farming; our children faced malnutrition, poor hygiene in our homes and many other issues. Today, thanks to the knowledge we acquired, our life has improved for the better.”

She says they have adopted improved planting practices, application of fertilizers, among others and the yields have tripled as a result.  

Towards Zero Hunger

The FAO is excited to celebrate World Food Day 2017 and mark another year of achievement, collaboration, and learning. With the theme of this year, “Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development”, a WFD celebration is an opportunity to renew our collective action-oriented commitments towards the achievement of SDG-2 and advocate for more public and private investment in food security and rural development for a hunger free generation.

 

 

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