Farmers in Ngoma and Kirehe districts are set to benefit from increased productivity following the launch of a project dubbed; Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP).
The project, that supports agriculture production processing operations to increase efficient post-harvest system, was launched in the tw0 districts on Tuesday.
The project is geared at reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring food security.
Janvier Gasasira, the project coordinator, said PASP will benefit 32,400 rural households comprising smallholder farmers engaged with production and primary processing as well as dairy farming.
Gasasira said members of cooperatives and smallholder farmers would be some of the beneficiaries.
He said the project will promote beans, cassava, maize, Irish potatoes and dairy farming.
“We have launched the project in the districts of Kirehe and Ngoma first because they did very well in the crop intensification project…Nyagatare will be next because of its high production of milk,” he said.
The project will cover Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma, Nyagatare, Muhanga, Kamonyi, Ruhango Kirehe, Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu districts, regarded as the country’s breadbasket districts.
Gasasira told hundreds of farmers in Ngoma and Kirehe districts at the launch that they would benefit from a number of initiatives.
“It will promote value addition through improved harvesting techniques, basic rural agro-processing transport, storage, processing, transformation, and packaging,” Gasasira added.
He said the project will make it possible for banks to offer agriculture loans to farmers since it provides 40 per cent guarantee for loan seekers.
“Regardless of the type of business you have in mind, starting a business is a major undertaking…so we are talking of business-oriented agriculture. The project will help farmers access loans by linking them to various commercial banks,” Gasasira said.
Farmers said the project will give them an opportunity to benefit from increased production.
Augustine Ngabonziza, A renowned farmer in Kirehe, said agricultural financing, would help farmers expand their operations.
He said most farmers lagged behind because they lacked start-up capital to buy equipment and necessary inputs to improve quality of produce.
“Most farmers have had their crops’ quality compromised by the inability to stock them properly…this greatly affects their earnings. That there will be access to loans, with a grant of almost 50 per cent, is great news to farmers,” he said.
PASP is supported by the government and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).