A cooperative of maize farmers based in Nyagisozi Sector, Nyaruguru District has registered increased production after embracing best farming practices.
Abishyizehamwe ba Rwonjya cooperative, comprising members from Nyagisozi and Cyahinda sectors, grows maize on 46 hectares of Rwonjya marshland located between the two sectors.
The cooperative’s yields have increased to 4.5 tonnes per hectare up from 1.5 tonnes.
When it was created in 2009, the cooperative was using varied seeds and traditional farming practices, which made the produce low, according to Vitalien Hagabimana, one of the farmers.
Hagabimana, the father of seven, while speaking to The New Times on Wednesday, attributed the increased maize productivity to the adoption of best farming practices thanks to the training from Global Communities/Usaid Ejo Heza since 2012.
He said the practices were further boosted by Farmer Field School (FFS), a training organised by Global Communities aimed at training farmers on how to nurture the crop.
“We are now planting improved seeds, applying fertilisers and harvesting our maize at the right time,” Hagabimana said.
He, however, decried lack of ready market which he said forces them to trek long distances to look for buyers.
Fabien Niyitegeka, the Vice Mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Development in Nyaruguru District, said farmers should not worry about the market as they can sell their produce both in the country and across the border in Burundi, saying that the district will help address any bottlenecks that arise.
“There are also micro-processing units one in Rusenge Sector and another in Ruheru Sector, with each able to mill up to four tonnes of maize flour per day. Another unit will be set up in Kibeho Sector. He also said there is need for people to invest in the agriculture value addition chain in the district to ensure maize produce benefits farmers,” he said.
Laurien Jyambere, who represented Global Communities at the event, said they will continue to reinforce Farmer Field School approach as it had proved very effective in providing technical support to farmers.
Niyitegeka said, more efforts will be put in putting farmers in cooperatives, through which they will easily benefit from fertiliser subsidies, crop intensification programme (CIP), and agriculture extension programmes.