KAYONZA — Researchers have urged farmers in the country to grow specialised crops using crop rotation method, in order to improve the quality and quantity of their crop yields.
A research conducted by the Institut des Science Agronomique du Rwanda (ISAR) shows that specializing in one crop at a time improves the quantity and quality of cereal and legume crops, while crop rotation preserves soil fertility.
The research released recently in Kabare Sector, aimed at highlighting the impact of proper use of organic and inorganic fertilisers in farming, effects of crop rotation and the dangers of mixed cropping among other things. It was carried out on pilot gardens of local farmers.
Releasing the report, Thierry Umugiraneza, an official of ISAR said, "The research aimed at highlighting the benefits of using organic and inorganic fertilizers, crop rotation and specialising in one crop. It looked at ways of improving quantity and quality of cereal and legume crops."
The research sponsored by the Belgian Cooperation was conducted for a period of one year in partnership with other national and international research organisations, Umugiraneza said.
He named the other partners as Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA), Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation (RWARR) and Centre International Pour l’Agriculture Tropicale (CIAT).
John Bideri, the Director of RWARR explained that they involved local farmers in the research to make them feel the ownership of the findings.
"The importance of this participatory approach, it helps residents feel ownership of the research findings unlike before when research institutes carried out their experiments and only imposed findings on residents," Bideri noted, adding it was in line with the government’s decentralisation programme of participatory approach in solving problems affecting the residents.
He thanked members of farmers’ associations and other partners who participated in the research.
Didas Kayiranga, Director of ISAR’s Semi-Arid Research Centre of Gashora, expressed optimism in the findings, saying the results benefit not only the institute but all Rwandans.
He urged the residents to embrace the new research findings in order to increase on the productivity of both cereal and legume crops.
During the function, farmers gave testimonies of the positive results of growing specialized crops.
"Before ISAR introduced the new system we could grow beans mixed up with maize plants, but the yields were always poor. But with the application of the new system, we observed that when tall crops are mixed up with short ones, the tall crops suffocate the shorter ones," Mathias Hitimana, the president of Duterimbere association of farmers in Kabare said.
"When we planted maize in lines along with beans in lines the harvest also increased. The system allows addition of manure and fertilizers during the course of growth, and it allows easy movement while weeding".