RULINDO/GICUMBI - A recent study visit to China by Northern Province Governor Aime Bosenibamwe, in the company of Rulindo District Mayor Justus Kangwaje, as well as representatives of various cooperatives and progressive farmers, provided an outlook on a variety of development programs that Rwandans can emulate from their Chinese counterparts.
The outcome of the China visit was revealed in a recent presentation at Gicumbi District by Mayor Kangwaje, during a meeting chaired by Bosenibamwe to evaluate the Northern Province’s development programs. All the district’s authorities were present.
Bosenibamwe said the primary purpose of their China visit was to promote partnership between Rwanda and China, along social economic and cultural spectrum.
“In addition, our visit was aimed at exploring business opportunities for the Northern Province business communities,” said Bosenibamwe.
On his part, Kangwaje said the Chinese people share a similar mountainous land terrain with their Northern Province Rwandan counterparts.
“Chinese people fully apply terracing at Guilin City of Guanxi province to avoid soil erosion and increase agricultural production. Terraces are a potential for tourism attraction, as infrastructure and restaurants are put in place,” said Kangwaje.
Regarding cultural values, Kangwaje noted that Chinese people greatly admire Rwandan handcrafts, such as Agaseke (basketry) and Imigongo (dung paintings).
The delegation also visited a Chinese company, specializing in animal feeds for Pigs, Ducks and Chicken, in which a total of 243 thousand tons of animal feeds are manufactured per day, valued at 25 million Yuan (Chinese currency).
Kangwaje further said the Chinese animal feeds company maintains close cooperation with suppliers of raw materials such as Soya beans, corn, bones, and fish left over.
“This lucrative business is equally feasible in Rwanda although it requires large capital outlay, such as heavy machinery and high energy in order to benefit from economies of scale,” added Kangwaje.
In addition, the delegation visited Jin Tao City of Zhongshan Province fresh produce logistics Company LTD. Mayor Kangwaje says the company specializes in processing, conservation and marketing of fresh vegetables in China and beyond.
He said this company has mastered the interests of their customers by keeping products in proper storage infrastructure in terms of packaging and using cold rooms.
The Rwandan delegation also visited the Chinese Chamber of commerce at Guangzhou city in Guangdong Province. Kangwaje says the Chinese chamber of commerce is willing to come to Rwanda to explore business opportunities in the Northern Province.
Francois Mugiraneza, a modern farmer in Gicumbi district was among the farmers who went to China. He specializes in modern Agriculture and livestock farming at Kageyo Sector.
In a separate interview with The New Times, Mugiraneza says he learned a lot from a visit to China’s Guangzhou city milk processing plant, which specializes in producing pasteurized milk, enzyme-rich drink and yogurt.
“The Chinese milk plant produces low prized and subsidized milk supplied to their schools, and this can be emulated by Rwandans to provide healthy food to our younger generation,” said Mugiraneza.
Mugiraneza further said a visit to China’s Guangdong Institute of Agriculture mechanization offered other lessons for Rwandan farmers.
“Different models of Agriculture machinery developed by the Institute could possibly develop Rwanda’s badly needed machines for value addition on Irish potatoes production,” he said.
Mugiraneza cited the need for Rwandan farmers to use machines to cultivate crops in terraces as well as acquiring wheat harvesting machines.
According to Bosenibamwe, the delegation learnt a lot from the China visit. “All steep slopes are equally important for terracing,” he said, adding that, “infrastructure development and the relationship between terracing and human settlement are paramount towards steering economic development.”
With regard to improving land consolidation, Bosenibamwe said “Rwandans can gradually turn the majestic sceneries of terraces into tourism attractions, to become income generating assets for the local communities.”
Through involving business people in the dynamics of grass root development, suitable facilities such as restaurants, handcraft, industry and progressive introduction of modern irrigation systems, since water is abundant in all districts of Northern Province can be introduced.
“If it works in China, why not in Rwanda?” said Bosenibamwe.
The governor further highlighted their visit to China’s Great wall, the Forbidden City and Birds Nest Olympic stadium, saying the Chinese are proud of their cultural heritage, historical sites and infrastructure potential for tourism.
“Rwandans can emulate this by preserving our culture and historical sites, because they are a source of foreign income,” he advised.
Agricultural machinery and value addition
Bosenibamwe also said that Rwanda’s provinces and districts can identify farming challenges and get support through accessing loans, in their respective cooperatives. He also encouraged households willing to acquire suitable machinery.
“The Rwandan Embassy in Beijing and Rwanda Development Board (RDB)/China office are willing to facilitate and liaise with potential providers,” he said.
He further advised Rulindo and Gicumbi district to emulate China’s terracing techniques to attract tourism and increase agricultural production, in already terraced hills of Kaniga, Rubaya and Miyove Sectors of Gicumbi District and Sectors of Kisaro and Rukozo of Rulindo District.
The agricultural development meeting was also attended by the Advisor to the Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education and the advisor to the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion. It also included representatives of Vision Umurenge Program (VUP), work for general interest of genocide convicts (TIG) and World Food Program (WFP).