NYAGATARE - The Faculty of Agriculture at Umutara Polytechnic University is helping farmers in Nyagatare district to transform agriculture by improving the farmers’ incomes.
In an interview with The New Times on Thursday, Prof. Stanley Marshall Makuza, the dean of the faculty, explained that the institution’s extension services include sending out agricultural students to work with farmers as well as setting up university farms in rural areas where farmers can acquire hands-on training experience.
“Most of the projects have been operating since 2007, and are geared towards crop and livestock extension services,” Prof. Makuza said.
The university’s farms are located in Nyagatare and Rukomo sectors. “We want to set up more farms in Kayonza and Gatsibo districts but we still have a challenge of limited resources. We have also been training farmers in fertilizer management,” he said.
Professor Makuza who also lectures at the National University of Rwanda disclosed that his faculty has sent 22 students to work with rural farmers in the region.
The extension services also include a sub-project dubbed ‘Breeders’ program’ which teaches livestock farmers appropriate feeding methods for livestock.
“We have been doing this in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture and Scientific Research (ISAR) in Nyagatare and the results are very promising,” he said.
He added that through partnership with Umutara Community Resources and Development Project (PDRCIU), the university has trained farmers on record keeping and animal health.
Stephen Mirenge, a farmer in Katabagemu sector, said the training received from agricultural experts from the university has helped him improve production.
“We were trained on modern planting methods and proper use of fertilizers and our maize production has greatly increased,” he said.