Horizon SOPYRWA, a subsidiary of Horizon Group, has rewarded best pyrethrum farmers and cooperatives from Western and Northern Provinces with incentives worth about Rwf45million.
The gesture was part of Horizon’s annual pyrethrum farmers’ day that was celebrated on February 25, in Nyabihu District with hundreds of farmers from Nyabihu and Rubavu Districts at Bigogwe playground in the western province.
The same event was also celebrated in Musanze District on February 26, at Rushubi playground in Kinigi Sector and brought together pyrethrum farmers from Musanze and Burera Districts.
The annual pyrethrum farmers’ day, according to Gabriel Bizimungu, the Horizon SOPYRWA General Manager, looks to recognize the unparalleled contribution farmers provide to the country’s economy through the crop’s optimal produce.
“We are rewarding pyrethrum model farmers because their hard work last year has boosted produce from 200 tons in 2013 to 1500 tons today, it is therefore a milestone as exports have also grown from 4 tons in 2013 to 35 tons which we are envisaging this year, ” he noted.
Speaking at the event, Bizimungu revealed that this year’s celebration reflects the increase of pyrethrum production and quality given the fact that Rwanda is now recognized for the best quality pyrethrum on the global market noting that the export of the crop brought in the country about $7million last year.
“The rationale behind quality produce is farmers’ various good practices, notably in the field, post-harvest, and how they handle the flowers as well as how we process flowers at the factory,” He noted
Some of the mattresses that were given to model pyrethrum farmers from Musanze and Burera Districts.
He also added that, “the quality of produce is also associated with the volcanic area where the farmers grow pyrethrum, the area is very conducive; the climate, soil and elevation,”
During the celebrations, different awards worth Rwf40million were handed over to 440 model farmers and 9 cooperatives.
The first category of the awards included 61 heifers that are expected to produce manure that will improve soil fertility and milk for the family and for sale. 10 of the heifers were donated by Central Life Sciences – a US-based firm that has been buying the Rwandan pyrethrum produce since 2015.
The second category of the awards included mattresses that were given to 60 farmers while the third included hoes, gumboots and umbrellas.
Besides awarding pyrethrum model farmers, Horizon SOPYRWA has also awarded two of its employees with $500 each for being the most hard working last year. The cash prizes were donated by Central Life Sciences firm.
Figures from Horizon SOPYRWA indicate that 37,000 households from the volcano areas in the Northern and Western Provinces earn a living thanks to pyrethrum farming, the crop is particularly cultivated on about 3,500 hectares annually providing an output of 1,5O0 tons of dry flowers equivalent to 25 tons of pale extract.
The firm has an extraction capacity of 3,000 tons of dry flowers per year equivalent to 45 tons of extract.
The pyrethrum farmers from Western and Northern Provinces who spoke during farmers’ day celebrations testified that they had achieved more in their respective families thanks to pyrethrum farming.
“I personally managed to build a modern house from money that I seasonally get from pyrethrum, more importantly I am an independent woman thanks to the pyrethrum that I have cultivated for the last 5 years. I am therefore grateful to Horizon SOPYRWA as it always incentivize the farmers,” said Annonciata Mugabekazi, a farmer from Nyabihu District
The Horizon SOPYRWA General Manager, Gabriel Bizimungu speaks during Farmers’ Day celebrations in Nyabihu District.
Joseph Twalibu, 75, and a pyrethrum farmer from Kinigi Sector in Musanze District echoed Mugabekazi’s sentiments saying, “Pyrethrum has become a goldmine for many of us; I personally started growing pyrethrum since my childhood, the crop has helped me to achieve more including paying university education for all my four children,”
The Horizon Group chief operating officer, Alex Rusagara noted that after taking over Horizon SOPYRWA in 2008 the group has put forward restructuring pyrethrum farming practices and processing stressing that all the efforts invested in revitalizing the company were paying off.
Rusagara noted that SOPYRWA as one of subsidiaries of Horizon Group projects to bring in the country Rwf19.7billion through pyrethrum export by 2025 – a move he stressed that it will help the pyrethrum farmers cash in significantly.
Local officials from Western and Northern Provinces commended Horizon SOPYRWA for its contribution towards the wellbeing of citizens notably the pyrethrum farmers.
“What is commendable is that a number of our citizens are significantly generating money from pyrethrum farming, some farmers have bought cars while other residents got jobs in farming activities,” said Jean Claude Habanabakize, Nyabihu District vice mayor in charge of economic development
He went on to urge Nyabihu residents to actively participate in pyrethrum farming in their day-to-day endeavors by particularly exploiting all the areas designed for crop farming, revealing that pyrethrum was being grown at 81 per cent in the district.
The director of planning unit in the Northern Province, Desange Safi, said the province values pyrethrum given a number of residents who earn a living thanks to the crop.