Rice and horticulture farmers from Bugesera and Ngoma districts in the Eastern Province are set to benefit from a newly launched $5 million project targeting to boost farming activities and cooperatives in the region.
Financed and supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and managed by Sanyu Consultants, a Japanese agriculture consulting firm, the project aims at increasing crop production through farmer training and strengthening of their local cooperation.
The project was launched yesterday, and according to officials, rice and horticulture farmers in the two districts should expect farm machinery, from JICA, through the programme, and will also be flown overseas for capacity building.
According to a statement from JICA, the project follows a pilot survey that was carried out in the Eastern Province between 2006 and 2009 that resulted into the birth of several other projects in the area.
JICA’s Programme Manager, Iriya Kensuke, commended the impressive organization of farmers’ cooperatives in the country, saying that they will ease the implementation of the programme and consequently benefit as many farmers in the region as possible.
“I have worked in the agriculture sector for over 35 years in a number of developing countries. It is only in Rwanda that I have seen cooperatives as organized as those in Japan,” Kensuke said.
“I am sure if these cooperatives operate well, farmers’ standards of living will be improved remarkably.”
Kensuke added that the project will work closely with farmers’ organizations, districts and sector cooperatives and NGOs operating in the area to maximize the potential of the project.
The Ministry of Agriculture has singled out rice as one of the strategic food crops in the country and has designed programmes for the purpose of exploiting the full potential of rice cultivation, so that the country can achieve self food sufficiency and as well export.