RWAMAGANA—Tomato growers in Eastern Province are requesting well-wishers to extend training to them in order to boost production and sustain their incomes.
Members of Cooperative Inkingi de Muhazi (COPIMU) spoke recently to a team of World Bank officials, headed by sector manager Karen Brooks for agricultural development.
President of the cooperative Evariste Gatera said members had not mastered how to grow tomatoes properly, though is it was their main source of economic activity.
“In order to increase on the productivity we wish to get more training and sensitization”, Gatera said.
“We wish to put in place a union of tomato cooperatives in order to start our own factory that could produce tomato-related products, but we still lack the capacity to do so.”
Flanked by cooperative members Jackline Mutezinka and Paulette Mukabaranga treasurer Gatera said that one of the main problems was the cooperative and industry’s fate was still tied to the whims of nature.
“When it rains too much and or when the sun shines too much, the tomatoes are affected,” Mutezinka said.
Members of the cooperative also complain of cheap prices offered by SORWATOM, their main client. For instance, on kilo of top-quality tomatoes are sold at Frw65, relatively cheap compared to time needed and labour costs.
Members have hailed the Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP) and ACIDVOCA for extending training to members but also appeal for more help from well-wishers.
Formed in 2005, COPIMU is the only tomato growing cooperative in Rwamagana district stretching as far as Kayonza. The cooperative has 314.