Burera reaps from land consolidation

At around midday, Rudovic Sibomana, 73, a resident of Bugamba cell, Kinyababa sector in Burera district, is tilling his farm.
Sibomana explains how land consolidation is practiced in Kinyababa sector. The New Times/Jean Mbonyinshuti.
Sibomana explains how land consolidation is practiced in Kinyababa sector. The New Times/Jean Mbonyinshuti.

At around midday, Rudovic Sibomana, 73, a resident of Bugamba cell, Kinyababa sector in Burera district, is tilling his farm.

Sibomana, like other farmers has gone for land use consolidation and adopted monoculture.

 

According to Wikipedia, the online enclopedia, monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop or plant species over a wide area and for a large number of consecutive years.

 

Farmers and officials in Burera district say the land in the area is not normally fertile and needs constant caring, which calls for growing produce like beans in the area, they recommend. 

 

Sibomana said the residents adopted monoculture and have seen its positive impact as compared to the past when they used to mix crops.

“I have seen an enormous difference under monoculture. We are now getting good harvest because we are no longer mixing crops. We resisted it at the beginning as we did not believe it would have such a positive impact,” Sibomana, a father of eight said.

The land consolidation programme seeks to bring together fragmented plots of land and encourage the cultivation of particular crops on the consolidated land in the spirit of maintaining food security.

 “We now use improved seeds unlike in the past when a farmer thought every grain is a seed. We also use manure from waste and animals as well as organic one. When the weather is perfect, a farmer reaps abundantly,” he adds. 

Sibomana says, last year, he harvested about 300 kilogrammes of maize and at least 400 kilogrammes of beans.

Farmers and officials in the area say the land is not normally fertile.

“Harvest has increased threefold or beyond when you compare with the old practice. At the time, a disease could attack one crop and the farmer ends up losing all in his farmland,” Sibomana said.

“But now we have been taught methods to treat monoculture and we have qualified agronomists who offer assistance on daily basis,” he added.

Land tenure

The farmers have also adopted land use consolidation which enables them to practice better the monoculture system.

Sibomana’s farm neighbour, Dativa Nyiragasanzwe, confirms that monoculture has changed the lives of farmers but insists that it requires improved seeds and manure which some of farmers are not easily getting, thus, she urges that local leaders should follow up and support those vulnerable people so that they can easily practice farming.

“It is better to go for monoculture, we have combined our land in land use consolidation but not all of us are benefiting from it equally, some who have manure and get easily improved seeds are mostly  benefiting but some are still suffering as not everybody has a cow to get manure or has money to buy it,” said Nyiragasanzwe.

The officer in -charge of agriculture in the sector, Anastase Mbatezimana, said land use consolidation and monoculture in the area have had a positive impact to the local farmers.

“Farmers used to cultivate in disorder way by mixing crops and it affected production. Monoculture has borne fruits, if they mixed crops they production was worse and they consumed it in the family but now reserving for the market,” said Mbatezimana.

“Besides, they are able to control their crops, for the mixed one when one crop got sick, others were also sick and it affected the production and now they use manure from their cows and wastes while buying organic manure to mix with,” he said, adding that manure is not expensive as farmers say.

Introduced in 2008, land use consolidation had initially faced resistance at the grassroots, but after witnessing the benefits accruing from the system, farmers have gradually embraced.

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