Kayonza - Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association, over the weekend, ended a two-day workshop for farmers in Kayonza District.
PELUM is an association that seeks to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and the sustainability of farming communities, by fostering ecological land use management.
According to Josam Potel, the officer in charge of land in Kayonza, the training of agro-based cooperative farmers is important for the general development of the country.
He said that the two-day training provided farmers with vital skills to help them use land in a sustainable manner.
“Cooperatives were created with the purpose of enabling farmers to capture at least part of the profits from crops, such as rice, coffee and maize. The training of members is thus timely” pointed out Potel.
“We have also discussed ways to avoid land wrangles and subsequent conflicts in communities. Astonishingly, all conflicts emanate from land disputes”.
Hawa Mukandutiye, the coordinator of Rice Union Federation in Rwanda (FUCORIRWA), said they are doing everything to rejuvenate cooperatives, after recent setbacks.
She noted that the poor performance of cooperatives limited their role in poverty reduction and national development.
Mukandutiye added that the training was part of an ongoing process to empower cooperatives with requisite skills to maximize production.
“We are overhauling cooperatives to make them more profitable. For instance, rice cooperatives are doing well all over the country. We are using modern technology of fertilizer application, harvesting and stocking…the next rice harvest is expected to be high,” she said.
Aquiline Ndorimana, from Kamonyi District, said that leaders of cooperatives were ignorant about most land laws in Rwanda.
He noted that small scale farmers used to lose land to big investors, with little or no pay at all.
“We are growing daily, for instance, last year we gained Rwf 40 million from the maize we sold. But our main undoing has been ignorance. Now that we were enlightened on the land law, I am sure the sky will be the limit,” he said.
The workshop was attended by leaders of small-scale cooperatives from all over the country.