Twenty farmers from Karago Sector in Nyabihu District were given cows that will help them increase agriculture production and reduce malnutrition.
The donation was coordinated by Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), in partnership with various development partners under the “Humid Tropics Programme,” that has been under implementation in the area over the last three years.
According to Athanase Cyamweshi Katana, the coordinator of the project, the cows will help farmers increase agriculture production that had already started to increase thanks to the project.
“Farmers used to harvest seven to eight tonnes of potatoes per hectare. But now the production has risen to between 24 and 30 tonnes per hectare. These cows will help them increase production through provision of manure as well as reduce malnutrition since beneficiaries will be drinking milk,” he said.
The event also marked the closing of the programme that has been training farmers and giving them other facilities such as harvest stores.
Antoine Mugwiza, Nyabihu vice-mayor for economic affairs, said the project was started as a solution to different problems that include malnutrition as Nyabihu features among districts with highest number of malnourished children.
Mugwiza suggested that the projecte be extended in other parts of the district.
“This programme is very important and should be replicated in other places such as Jomba Sector where many children are malnourished,” he said.
Beneficiaries speak out
Beneficiaries hailed the programme, saying it improved their farming practices and helped them increase production.
“We had malnutrition issues, small pieces of land, bad and inssufficient seeds that resulted in low production. During this programme, we underwent training on farming, mainly seed multiplication, as well as health. We now have good seeds and fertilisers, we know how to take care of cows, feeding them and we can prepare a healthy diet. Malnutrition has significantly been reduced,” Joseph Rugerero, president of the group, said.
The group initially had 27 members and now has 75. The members have trained 375 more people on farming and health.
Every member is expected to train at least three people on modern farming and health, with their focus to transform into a cooperative of seed multipliers as a gateway to richness.
Esperance Nyiransabimana, another member, said the trainings honed their skills in farming.
“I can prepare a balanced diet that makes my kids healthy,” she said.
Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, deputy director general of RAB, thanked all partners and urged farmers to buy into new farming practices and join hands for more yields.
“It’s no surprise that you have increased production. If you keep working together, you will achieve more. This project is over but don’t allow what you started to backslide. Keep together and help others know what you were trained in,” she said.
The project started in 2013 with investment worth $150,000. It is also implemented in six other countries across the world, according to officials.