By Joseph Mudingu
YARA Rwanda on Tuesday 20th/12/2016, in Huye district, launched its first massive upcountry fertilizer distribution program in a bid to bring services closer to farmers in Gisagara, Huye, Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Rusizi and Nyanza districts.
The company has rolled out a massive campaign that will see their products distributed all over the country by establishing warehouses in all the four provinces of Rwanda.
Another similar launch followed in Musanze on the 21st December that also saw a large turn up of agro dealers from Musaze, Burera, Nyabihu, Rubavu, Gakenke and Ngororero Districts
While addressing journalists during the launch at the former RRA offices in Huye, the country
Director/ Managing Director for YARA Rwanda, Alexandre Macedo said that the main reason for opening stores upcountry is to help farmers access fertilizers from their distributing company (APTC) easily and on time.
The move will help farmers get easy and rapid access to fertilizers within the country for increased use and improved agriculture yields.
He gave a brief on how YARA came to be established in Rwanda and how they are working hand in hand with the government of Rwanda and other stakeholders to improve farm yields for farmers.
“For many years, we have known that soil fertility and fertilizers are necessary to cultivate farms for high yield and long term farm viability and sustainability. And when in 2006, the government of Rwanda decided to develop a package of interventions for farmers that will turn farms from places that are low income with no future to thriving and sustainable farming systems, fertilizer was one of the main pillars of that package – along with plant material and grafting and Good Agricultural Practices.
“So when the then State Minister of Agriculture came to our head offices in Norway and invited us to come and invest in Rwanda, we came and we are now here ready to develop and scale up distribution for improved agriculture,” said Macedo.
Agro dealers welcomed the move of YARA bringing its products nearer to the people and were optimistic that this will help omit some of the challenges that they were facing.
Uwagiwabo Faustine, a farmer and Agro dealer representing a cooperative called Coproriz Nyiramagene in Gisagara District, said lack of knowledge about the type of soil and the amount of fertilisers to apply plus the time it takes from when they order for fertilizers and the time it takes for them to receive them was a big challenge for farmers.
“The identification of appropriate fertilizers for each type of soil and the ready access of the fertilizers will increase both quantity and quality of agricultural produce,” he said.
YARA Rwanda’s parent company, YARA International ASA, is a Norwegian chemical company whose major business is production of nitrogen fertilizers.
Founded in 1905 to solve emerging famine in Europe, today, YARA has a worldwide presence, with close to 13,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries.
In 2015, YARA established a strong team and started operations in Rwanda where it has become a major fertilizer distributor.
When asked on why they chose to establish themselves in Rwanda, Macedo’s answer was “Why not, Rwanda is the largest consumer fertilizers per hectare in East Africa and every year there is a very significant increase in consumption of fertilizers that’s why we chose Rwanda because we are here to do business” Macedo explained.
Yara is now well established in Rwanda, with an experienced team of agronomists and a complete structure of logistics and warehouse. In addition, Yara is running a series of trials in partnership with RAB, in order to identify the most appropriate combination of nutrients to the different soil types.
With all these actions and investments, Yara shows clearly that it trusts in Rwanda and is here to partner with the government in order to support the farmers and improve the technification of agriculture.