The horticulture industry received a timely shot in the arm, thanks to a group of sector experts who recently graduated in agronomics from an agro studies institute in Isreal.
The group is part of Rwandan agronomists undergoing training in horticulture and agribusiness under an 11-month internship programme at the Agro Studies International Centre for Agricultural Interns in Israel.
Over 150 local agro-experts have so far graduated from the centre, while 130 others are still undertaking the programme.
The agronomics undertook courses in vegetable and fruit tree farming, soil conservation, plant protection, irrigation techniques, computer economics, project planning and post-harvest courses, among others.
“We want to promote smart farming through innovation, which we believe will play a critical role in increasing production and value of horticultural products,” Theoneste Murindangabo, one of the graduates, said.
The group is already working with farmers’ associations in Nyanza district to increase production of vegetables in the area, he revealed.
Rwanda has a shortage of extension workers and last year the agriculture ministry started a project, where model farmers are recruited as part of efforts to fill the gap in the short-term.
Government is targeting to increase exports to a tune of 28 per cent annually by 2018 under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).