Entrepreneur’s bid to improve farming through environmentally conscious technology

Theogene Ingabire(in striped shirt) and his co-workers make organic fertilisers from grass and crop residues through effective micro-organisms technology. Photos by Joan Mbabazi.

Rwanda Biosolutions Ltd is a local company based in Bugesera District, Nyamata Sector that was founded by Theogene Ingabire and his three colleagues to provide farmers with organic fertilisers to boost farming.

Considering that Rwanda depends mostly on agriculture, their aim was to enable farmers have higher yields through using organic fertilizers.

Ingabire holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from University of Delhi with a background in Water and Environmental Engineering from University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology.

He had an interview with Business Times’Joan Mbabaziabout his journey in this business.

How did you end up in this venture?

We were equipped with knowledge of advancing farming at a conference in 2015. We were urged to provide an alternative solution to chemical fertilisers. Researchers noticed that use of Effective Micro-organism Technology would be an ideal way to start. Thanks to the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology we had access to laboratories to conduct a number of tests. The results in the lab were so positive that it pushed us to bring out the idea in the real world. That was the birth of Rwanda Biosolution Ltd.

What exactly do you do?

We produce organic composts from grass and domestic wastes through using EM Technology (Effective Micro-organism Technology). EM contains selected species of micro-organisms including predominant populations of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts and smaller numbers of photosynthetic bacteria, actinomycetes and other types of organisms.

Some of the workers at Rwanda Biosolution Ltd pack fertilisers for sale. 

All of these are mutually compatible and can co-exist in liquid culture and they react fast in decomposition and fermentation. These micro-organisms are environmental friendly and naturally found. While traditional ways give composts in eight to more months, modern techniques in six months, so they are not able to satisfy our two agriculture seasons per year. EM composting technology gives composts in only two months so we can satisfy farmers’needs.

What specific challenges are you trying to solve in your community?

Chemical fertilizers spoil the soil’s fertility; accumulate harmful chemicals  in the environment and are a risk to our health. It is cited that pesticides and chemical fertilizers are big factors of soil, water and air pollution (FAO report on Agricultural pressure on pollution 31 August 2017). Use of organic farming, (organic fertilizers and pesticides) is only one way to minimise environmental risks yet satisfying the Rwandan population with food that they need. We believe that organic farming in our community through the use of organic fertilizers can improve the livelihood of the people.

How many farmers have benefited from your services?

More than 126 farmers have been benefited from our products and we are targeting to increase the number of beneficiaries.

What challenges do you face?

The organic farming is a new concept for some people so it requires more time to raise awareness about the importance of organic farming. Another challenge is insufficient investment compared to the size of the market. Recruiting professional workers is not easy.

What have you achieved from this business?

Usually, achieving your dream is always amazing and impressive. Being able to overcome jobless situation and starting a successful business is something that am proud of. Also, being at a level of sustaining myself and providing employment to other young people like me is my greatest achievement.

How many workers do you have?

I have about four permanent employees and five part-time employees.

What are your future plans?

Our future plan is to extend our business widely and deeply across the country. We are planning to reach out to at least 1,000 farmers and open four new composting sites in Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Muhanga and Musanze.

We are looking forward to training farmers on how they can make organic fertilizers from domestic wastes by themselves through Effective Micro-organism Technology. We also offer some consultancy services and business advices.

How do you connect with farmers?

Our composting site is located in rural areas where we interact with the farmers every day and give us feedback after using our fertilisers.

How much do you sell the fertilizers to the farmers?

We sell fertilizers at Rwf 250 per kg. Each ton of fertilizers goes for Rwf 250,000

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

 

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