Farmers in Rukumberi Sector, Ngoma District have embraced a savings culture which they believe will help uplift their livelihoods.
The observation was made yesterday by members of various local associations during their end of year festivities, in which they shared dividends among themselves.
At least 500 saving groups commonly known as ibimina, have been formed in this sector to increase agriculture productivity and promote savings culture.
The farmers said through these groups, they have managed to save Rwf42 million in one year, with support from Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Caritas and Kibungo Diocese.
The Catholic Church facilitates the farmers to access financing, especially small loans.
Theopiste Ndikubwayo, a resident of Maswa One village in Rubona Cell, told The New Times that with the monthly savings through ikimina, she has managed to construct a decent house and start up a retail shop.
“I started by saving Rwf1,000 and then moved to saving Rwf25,000 a month. I now have merchandise worth Rwf600,000 in my shop,” she said.
Epiphania Nyirahabimana, a resident of Maswa II in the same cell, said her life had changed since she joined the saving group.
“This was an initiative of local farmers. The Church only helps us in training and project planning. Most of us have never been to school, but we have mastered the importance of saving,” she said.
Nyirahabimana added: “My income is still the same but the saving habit has made a difference. I earn Rwf90,000 weekly from selling banana beer and I save 70 per cent of it.”
Agustin Ntaganda, an official with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who attended the event, commended the farmers and called upon other communities to follow suit.
“The farmers associations will help us achieve Vision 2020 goals. With this positive attitude toward saving, most rural populations will have come out of poverty by that time,” he said.