GASABO - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has urged local leaders to work with farmers in mechanising and improving the country’s agricultural sector.
He made the call yesterday while opening a week-long agricultural expo that started in Mulindi, Gasabo District, which has attracted farmers and stakeholders from across the world to showcase their products.
“We have largely improved in terms of modern agricultural practices. It’s time for farmers to work closely with leaders, and make use of technology, even in rural areas,” the Premier said.
Most of the farmers participating in the expo have inspirational stories on how practising modern agriculture has helped them grow tremendously.
Emmanuel Niyibizi, a member of “Urugaga Imbaraga” a farmers’ cooperative in Musanze district, only began realising agricultural benefits after joining the cooperative.
“I can now afford school fees for my children and pay for other basic needs. I have even bought myself a vehicle to facilitate me in my work,” testified Niyibizi.
His cooperative uses terraces, pesticides, irrigation and fertilisers, on their consolidated land, courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture’s sensitisation programmes.
They supply food stuffs to supermarkets and local food processing plants.
Aloys Rwamika, a dairy farmer from Gicumbi District, now owns six cows, having started with only one and now sells a minimum of 20 litres daily, from which he has now bought a truck and a motorcycle.
COODERU Busogo, another cooperative based in Musanze rears exotic sheep for fur, which is a rare product in the region. They make thread from the fur which they sell abroad.
Celestin Niyibizi, the cooperative’s president, pointed out that lack of sufficient markets and fur trimming equipment, are their main challenges.
“People here do not know the value of fur. That is why the business has not yet picked up as it should.”
Aloys Kayumba, a farmer from Busogo in the Northern Province, says that he received a Rwf 2 million loan from a bank as starting capital, which he has utilised well to produce enough maize and Irish potatoes.
On display at the expo are agricultural equipment including tractors, seeding and combine harvesters among other machinery.
The expo, which is the sixth of its kind, is organised under the theme; “Irrigation and Mechanisation in Agriculture Transformation” and has attracted participants from several countries.