As part of its ‘Farming is Cool Rwanda’ initiative, Balton Rwanda recently rewarded the first set of schools for embracing agriculture as a feasible career option.
Safari Evariste, the agriculture division manager at Balton Rwanda, said the students won greenhouses after a competition and more schools will be rewarded under the same campaign to ensure that agriculture is promoted.
“This campaign will reach out to more schools. We want to see youth realise the importance of agriculture given that it employs over 85 per cent of the Rwandan population. We want the community to embrace modern farming methods that will transform the sector,” he said.
While many youth consider agriculture as an activity for rural people or the illiterate, Safari emphasises that it is an opportunity to empower both the young and the old.
“The Farming is Cool initiative is aimed at scaling up agriculture which is a potential to solve unemployment and underemployment among youth. This will in turn help to achieve double-digit economic growth as envisaged by the government,” he added.
According to data from the Ministry of Youth and ICT, there are 4.4 million youth in the country, with 80 per cent of them in rural areas, and 65 per cent underemployed.
The underemployed youth are either involved in under-productive activities or work less than 25 hours per week.
Winners speak out
Students of FAWE Girls School, University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture Sciences and Veterinary Medicine and Groupe Scolaire ADB Nyarutarama were the proud winners of agricultural kits from Balton Rwanda that include greenhouses worth Rwf 4 million each.
Student winners acknowledged the importance of the kits they had won and pledged to promote modern agricultural practices.
Diane Akimana Mukundwa, a science candidate at FAWE Girls School, told The Education Times that they will do their best to maximise the benefits of the greenhouses in their school by engaging in growing vegetables for consumption at school and selling some to nearby markets.
John Nyiribakwe, a student of the University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, added that they will continue learning more about agriculture so as to empower the community and help the youth out of unemployment.
Balton Rwanda aims to emulate the success of the ‘Farming is Cool’ initiative started in Kenya in 2011, and implemented successfully during the last four years by its sister company Amiran Kenya.
The Farming is Cool initiative was Launched last year by Balton Rwanda, a supplier of agriculture equipment and facilities, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.