World Vision, in partnership with Nyaruguru District, will soon establish a modern farmers’ information hub expected to help farmers get information on markets, crop diseases, among other things.
The district has availed land worth Rwf48 million in Kibeho on which the facility is being constructed.
Mayor Francois Habitegeko said the information hub aims at increasing the competitiveness of the agriculture sector in the Southern Province through influencing the uptake and up-scaling of agricultural technologies, innovations and management practices.
“We are excited about this project which will greatly scale-up agriculture activities in the district. Over 90 per cent of our people depend on subsistence farming. That is why we see improved agriculture as the major channel that can help improve the livelihoods of our people,” he said.
The mayor said the Rwf206m facility is expected to be a centre for learning, innovation and agriculture research.
It will host a modern demonstration plot that will be used to train hundreds of farmers in modern farming techniques.
“We previously used a small farmers field school that sometimes was not manned by professionals. The new modern facility will definitely add value to this sector,” he said.
World Vision Rwanda Director George Gitau, said the farmers’ information hub will help transform agriculture into a viable market-oriented venture.
He said their target, in partnership with the district, is to move as many farmers as possible from subsistence to commercial agriculture through formation of Commercial Producer Groups and Villages.
Gitau said the centre will have several demonstration plots, and community knowledge centres complete with computers and internet connection to help farmers get information on markets and crop diseases.
It will also have a Vision Finance branch, a World Vision micro-finance that provides small loans to farmers, a library equipped with agriculture books, a selling point for agricultural products, showrooms, training rooms and a modern conference hall.
Jean Damascene Munyaneza, one of the farmers in the district, said the centre comes at a right time when farmers are struggling with soil infertility.
“Such a centre will bring joy to our hearts. One of the challenges we have been facing is the acidic nature of the soil that contributes to reduced yields. With this centre, we hope to learn ways we can use our small pieces of land for increased production,” he said.