BUGESERA — Farmers who planted improved rice seeds in Nyaburiba marshland are making bumper harvest after six months of planting.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the rice growing pilot project, geared towards improving house hold income and increasing food access in the area previously known for food shortages.
The Frw 10m project has produced an average of 7.5 tons or rice per hectare, according to agricultural experts.
Launching the maiden harvest, JICA country representative, Iwao Tatsumi noted that: "there is nothing more profitable in the marshland than rice."
Three hectares out of the 52 hectares were sampled, each with different type of rice seeds that include; intsinzi, isindagirabigega and gakire.
Gakire recorded the highest returns, 8.8 tons, 0.5 tons slightly above Isindagirabigega while the Intsinzi type recorded 6.3 tons per hectare. Zetsugaku Kurita, JICA agricultural expert attributed the poor yields from Intsinzi type to poor adaptation to the soil.
The harvest is 3.5 tons above what the farmers used to get from the normal seeds grown on the same plot of land.
Speaking on behalf of members of Conyaburinba rice farmers’ cooperative, Martin Sindayigaya, the head, of the 521 member group appreciated the improved production and indicated optimism in getting a ‘record’ harvest.
It was revealed that only 60 farmers were employed on the three-hectare pilot project.
The JICA officials reportedly facilitated farmers with all the necessary guidance from planting till harvest and would help in storage.
Farmers have also been trained in the cleaning of rice using cheap manual machines.
Tatsumi pledged more support to farmers saying, they [JICA] had received much cooperation from the farmers.
It emerged that the harvested rice samples would be forwarded to Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority [RADA], for sampling to establish whether the quality is viable and best for Rwanda.
"If approved, the rice will be replicated to other provinces at a subsidized price," Kurita said.