The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), yesterday launched an agricultural mechanisation ‘week’ with a call on farmers to embrace mechanised farming to improve production.
The launch brought together farmers from various farming cooperatives at Kayumbu marshland in Musambira Sector in Kamonyi District.
It featured two main activities, including showcasing modern farming where machines were used to cultivate land as well as demonstration on the use of new small scale irrigation technology.
Talking to the farmers, Aimable Udahemuka, the Mayor of Kamonyi District, urged them to change their mindsets in order to benefit from modern farming by using modern equipment to cultivate and irrigate crops during dry season.
“Machines will play a big role in supporting farmers. We want to sensitise all cooperatives about the advantages of modern farming,” he said.
The campaign aims at changing people’s mindsets so that they embrace modern farming.
“Technology is not limited to education but also covers agriculture as the sector which employs the majority of the population. With the use of machines, we expect increased production,” the mayor added.
The machines are hired from RAB at Rwf 50,000 each per one hectare.
Jean Damascene Musafiri, the president of a union of six cooperatives of Musambira farmers dubbed Impuyabo in Kamonyi District, said the use of machines in their daily farming activities will ease their work.
“Farmers would spend a week to prepare their land, but with the use of machines time will be saved and more work will be done,” he said.
Mechanisation improves labour and land productivity, according to RAB.
It saves time and eases work, while maintaining postharvest quality of agricultural produce to reduce losses.
Ignace Uwizeyimana, a farmer, said machines will help them save the time they usually spend preparing their land.
Brigitte Mpinganzima said, in spite of the cost of using machines, she expects to double her production.
Jeanviere Mukagatare said previously she would face various difficulties in cultivating her land as she is a widow and no one would help her.
The campaign will continue to other districts in Eastern and South provinces namely; Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Rwamagana, Kayonza, Kirehe, Muhanga and Ruhango districts.
The Mechanisation programme started in Rwanda in 2009 to promote use of farm machinery in different farming operations for rural farmers, including post-harvest activities.