KAYONZA – Over 600 farmers in Mukarange, Ruramba, Ruramira and Remera sectors in Ngoma and Kayonza districts have received disease resistant cassava cuttings.
The stems were donated by the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) through its great lakes cassava initiative project.
Speaking at the distribution ceremony, CRS project manager, Sylvain Hakizimana said CRS-Rwanda is committed to eliminating the cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak disease which affects cassava production.
He explained that the two districts were prioritized because research carried out revealed that they were heavily affected by cassava diseases.
“Kayonza and Ngoma are some of the districts affected by cassava mosaic diseases, which has in the past affected food security and farmer’s incomes in the area,” he said.
“We are working with our local partners to perk-up farmer’s food security by identifying vulnerable and poor households to provide them with disease resistant cassava cuttings.”
The project is being implemented in partnership with the Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) and Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
The beneficiaries were identified with assistance from local leaders.
“We involve Community settlement (Midugudu) leaders in the process to ensure there is transparence and equal sharing of cuttings among beneficiaries,” said Hakizimana.
According to him, CRS in partnership with RADA, FAO and ISAR has developed a Kinyarwanda leaflets and posters with information on cassava disease management, which are given to farmers before receiving the stems.
Eugénie Mukamana, a farmer from Mukarange sector in Kayonza district who had received the stems during pilot stage, said the improved cassava variety has improved living conditions in her household.
‘I was one of the few farmers that participated in the multiplication of the improved cassava variety,” she said.
“CRS helped us during the first phase of land preparations, gave us free cuttings and we would in-return provide 2/3 of the harvested cassava stems so as to be given to other vulnerable farmers.”
She added that last season she managed to get over Rwf700,000 from one hectare of cassava plantation.