For years, Godelieve Muhimpundu practiced traditional farming which led to poor yields. The mother of six from Gitwa Cell, Tumba Sector in Huye District says life was difficult and she and other residents could not put into good use the marshland that surrounds them.
“We could hardly get food to put on the table due to poor farming methods, despite the marshland. We could not exploit it and, consequently, we lived in poor conditions due to ignorance,” said Muhimpundu
It was not until seven years ago that farmers from the area started a cooperative to modernise farming. They formed KOAGIMPA cooperative in Mpaza marshland and started working together for the common good
Muhimpundu, who is the current president of the cooperative, noted that farmers were encouraged to start modern farming by applying selected seeds and fertilizers and the produce began to increase.
The group says that since they started modern farming, yields have increased. Maize stands at between 100 and 120 tonnes per season, 100 to 110 tonnes of Soya and beans, while vegetables went up to 100 tonnes.
“We have increased the produce and currently every member of the cooperative has what to feed their family,” she said.
Last year, the cooperative received a boost of 21 irrigation machines from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion as well as other equipment from the Ministry of Defence to apply irrigation and the farmers are optimistic that the produce will increase as they will be farming in three seasons unlike the current two seasons without irrigation equipment.
“We have acquired 21 machines and we are ready to use them well to increase production as we can now cultivate the whole year non-stop. We will keep improving produce as we now have machines and are grateful to the Government that supported us,” said Muhimpundu
The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and partners also incorporated gender aspect and supported farmers in a bid to empower them with fighting gender based violence through a project; “Beneficiaries of Ending Gender-Based Violence by Empowering Rural women through production Agricultural production Units.”
It aimed at helping residents engage in modern farming as well as bringing them together in a bid to discuss family issues and fight domestic violence as well as other kind of violence.
Gender minister Esperance Nyirasafari hailed the cooperative for its hard work and commitment to improve modern farming as well as fighting gender-based violence.
“The project was initiated because we believed that it can contribute to the fight against domestic violence. When a woman has the ability to generate income, pay for school fees, health insurance, among others, she feels proud and it reduces domestic violence,” she said.