FEATURED: HortInvest, AgriProFocus hone skills for women in horticulture

Women in horticulture, along with officials and facilitators, pose for a photo during the boot camp intended to grow their agribusinesses, Rubavu District, December 4, 2019. Courtesy

HortInvest project and AgroProFucus have organised the 2019 Women in Horticulture Bootcamp intended address problems that such women grapple with in order to grow their agribusinesses and increase their income.

The function taking place from December 3 to 6, 2019 in Rubavu District, runs under the theme "Enhancing the business case of women in horticulture.” It aims to promote the growth of women in the horticulture Sector.

It includes inspiration and mindset change sessions followed by agribusiness field visits which will be held in the Western and Northern provinces; women owned horticulture businesses will be visited.

This event has brought together 30 women from the 6 districts of Southern and Western Province namely Muhanga, Ngororero, Karongi, Rutsiro, Nyabihu and Rubavu.

Under the auspices of the bootcamp, they are also trained on developing implementable business plans, financial literacy and bookkeeping.

Price drop especially during the harvest season, and lack of access to finance are some of the common challenges facing horticulture women farmers, which reduces their proceeds.

Madeleine Nyiramariro, one of the women participating in the bootcamp, told The New Times that she has been growing garlic on a half-hectare piece of land in Bigogwe Sector, where she invests between Rwf700,000 and Rwf800,000, and gets about Rwf1.2 million from the sales of the harvest.

The boot camp run under the theme 'Enhancing the business case of women in horticulture' aims to promote the growth of women in this agriculture subsector, Rubavu, December 3, 2019. / Courtesy

This year, she said, she expanded her garlic acreage to one and a half hectare as she seeks to grow the crop commercially and professionally.

She said she needs funding to set up an appropriate storage facility for her produce so that it can be safely kept for long.

"During peak season, the price of garlic falls from as high as Rwf1,700 to as low as Rwf600, which is a concern," she said adding "I wanted to access subsidised loan, but I could not."

However, she said she has hope that "this bootcamp will help me get over such difficulties."

Hope for much-needed support

Assumpta Uzamukunda, advisor for enabling environment at HortInvest said that the BootCamp comes as a solution to a problem of lack of professionalism that is affecting women engaged in horticulture.

"You realise that they do not know how to make a business plan. They do not study their projects effectively, which reduces their ability to make profit," she said.

"The most important thing is that every woman will leave the bootcamp with a business plan for her own project. HortInvest will follow up on how they are implementing them and, support them if need be especially though partnership with their respective districts," she said.

She said that HortInvest has a Fund that helps horticulture farmers get 50 percent of the investment they need to implement their projects and the recipients cover the remaining 50 percent.

Rubavu Vice-Mayor for Social Affairs, Pacifique Ishimwe said "this training is important as it is going to enhance skills of women in horticulture, and increase their income trhoufh improved productivity.

About HortInvest project and AgriProFocus

The HortInvest Rwanda project is a horticultural value chain strengthening project that is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda.

The project budget is €16.2 million (about Rwf16.2 billion), with an additional minimum of €5 million co-funding by private sector partners in the project.

It will reach at least 44,000 farmer households in six target districts in North West Rwanda.

It aims to increase farmers’ incomes, grow the relative contribution of the horticultural sector to the regional economy in North West Rwanda, and improve the food and nutrition security of the targeted households.

AgriProFocus is a business network that connects organised farmers, traders, suppliers, processors and exporters.


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