Rwanda farmers impress, to be used as case studies

Rwanda is the first country in the world that has helped farmers in the multiplication of seeds rich in iron, the Director-General of HarvestPlus, Dr. Howarth Bouis has said.
Dr. Bouis (R) and agronomists observe seed varieties in Musaza sector.  The New Times S. Rwembeho.
Dr. Bouis (R) and agronomists observe seed varieties in Musaza sector. The New Times S. Rwembeho.

Rwanda is the first country in the world that has helped farmers in the multiplication of seeds rich in iron, the Director-General of HarvestPlus, Dr. Howarth Bouis has said.

Bouis, who was speaking during a field trip to Musaza Sector, Kirehe District at the weekend, added that Rwandan farmers would be used as case studies in other countries around the world.

“Rwanda’s efforts to develop seed varieties have been relentless and I congratulate them. HarvestPlus hopes that the soon to be introduced varieties of maize and cassava will provide the vulnerable groups with more vitamin A in their daily diets,” said the visitin official.

HarvestPlus is a global movement made up of researchers and agro-experts. It is jointly coordinated by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

HarvestPlus,, according to Bouis, was committed to integrate bio-fortification to fight the dangers of vitamin and mineral deficiencies afflicting the poor in the world.

“The idea has been properly conceptualised in Rwanda, the photos and experience we get here, will be used in the international meeting on nutrition to be held in September in Spain,” he told hundreds of farmers.

He noted that apart from beans that were highly rich in iron, they will soon supply the farmers with more vitamin A rich varieties of cereals.

Improvement

“Our global concern for nutritious food supply remains…bio-fortification provides more cost-effective, cheaper, and easier to access nutrients. By integrating it in current crop improvement, Rwanda remains on the right track.”

Dririsenti Habiyaremye, the chairperson of a cereal growers’ cooperative, said that the new bean varieties were highly productive, noting that more farmers were joining cooperatives.

“The number of bean growers has been increasing. When we started, we were less than 10, today we are 700. A kilo of beans used to be Rwf300, now its Rwf600. The new variety is on very high demand,” he said.

The new iron-rich bean varieties were bred by the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) using conventional breeding methods.

Habiyaremye, an experienced farmer, however, said that the new varieties were affected by long droughts.

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