Sometimes it needs a revolution to get things on the move. It becomes useless to point out that this or that would work better if that was done, because knowledge is one thing, but action is another.
The case under examination is Umutara, and how it can become a power house economically if the necessary pushes are made.
In the pushy, charismatic Governor Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, the Eastern Province has a chance of shedding some of its encumbering old traditions and become a bright jewel in Rwanda.
Some of the things this governor has forced in the area: all livestock to be in delineated farms; all farms to be fenced; no mud-and-wattle houses; cut down your large herds in preference for fewer, and if possible exotic, breeds; in short, become modern – at all costs.
Everyone knows that there is an acute shortage of land in Rwanda, so what traffic do we have with pastoralists of old who take pride in moving large herds all over wide stretches of land? So, let pride in numbers be ditched. If one can get 100 litres of milk from five cows, what does one need 50 cows for to produce the same quantity?
Then, this area is also notorious for its long dry spells, when livestock drop down dead for lack of water and pasture. So when Mutsindashyaka insists on dams, then one knows that the water shortage problem will, up to some extent, be taken care of. But what about animal feeds?
That is when hay and silage come in – things one only finds in text books, thinking their relevance is only in Western countries.
Harvest the grass when there is still plenty and store it. Nay; grow the grass!
Rwandans need to start thinking smart in everything they do. Necessity should perforce drive us to live a different life from that of our forebears, and it must be a better life.
Modernity should not be about living in towns and driving fast cars. It should be about maximum utilization of the little resources we have to yield huge returns. It is the methods that have to change.