The Ministry of Agriculture has designed an internship programme, which will see unemployed agronomy graduates work in agriculture cooperatives in their respective home areas for a period of twelve months, to gain more skills.
The State Minister for Agriculture, Fulgence Nsengiyumva, said a pilot programme has been successful.
The pilot phase was conducted in Irish potatoes plant-tissue culture labs run by Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
“After engaging the unemployed agronomists in Irish potatoes plant-tissue labs, productivity increased from 400 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes,” Nsengiyumva said at the launch of the internship programme in Nyagatare District in Eastern Province on Wednesday.
Nsegiyumva pointed out that, so far, 331 students had been deployed to help rice growers’ cooperatives while the ministry awaited others to register for horticulture, animal husbandry and other fields.
The ministry hopes the internees will help farmers produce at least 10 tonnes of rice per hectare up from 7-8 tonnes currently.
For students to be considered for internship they have to register online through Capacity Building and Employment Services Board (CBESB), a capacity building institution.
According to Antonia Mutoro, the Director General of CBESB, they are certain the country will have knowledge-equipped agronomists as a result of the internship programme.
“A few years ago, the youth had a mindset that agriculture is for middle-aged, uneducated people, agriculture needs young and educated people to practice farming professionally,” Mutoro said.
She called upon the internees to work hard to prove their worth at their places they are assigned so they can earn from their input.
Emmanuel Twahirwa, an internee who graduated at University of Rwanda Busogo campus in 2016, said he expected to acquire enough field practice to make him learn about more complex facts about rice growing.
“I graduated last year but I haven’t got a job yet nor enough practical exposure. I hope I’ll be retained here or leave with the knowledge to do my own business,” said Twahirwa.