Solange Nina Mukayiranga offers lessons to thousands of people wondering what they should do when they are not happy with their monthly remunerations.
She says her farm is doing well. She started with maize farming with the support of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB). The maize seeds she grows are supported and bought by RAB.
Her farm serves as a seed multiplier, producing hybrid seeds for farmers. “Crop growing can be profitable, contrary to what people think,” she explains.
“I am doing agricultural activities on 25 hectares and the average sales at the end of the season are extraordinary huge. So, you understand that apart from the natural passion I have in the field, the income I get is an important motivating factor.
“Rwanda is promoting agriculture and many foreign investors are on board supporting modern agriculture.
“I couldn’t allow myself out of the new agricultural transformations in the country. I am also privileged to be working with Harvest Plus, a project disseminating iron rich beans to farmers.
“With Harvest Plus project, I will be limited by the sky because the new crop variety has high yields per hectare, compared to any other crop in the country. And just like RAB, Harvest Plus project is also the buyer, hence assuring farmers of a good market.
“In fact, I spend sleepless nights thinking about improving our farm…modern farming is highly demanding, but also highly paying. I never thought about cows because the experience I have, is that they make lesser profits. So, on the farm I also support poultry and goats which provide us with basic proteins.
“Whenever I visit my farm, at least once in a month, I come back with trays of eggs and goat meat, to feed my family. I share the food with my friends and neighbours, because sometimes it is too much for one family. It is lovely, particularly in our culture to share food with others…so the things out of agriculture have far reaching effect.
I first came up with the idea of agriculture which my husband hesitantly embraced, but today he is part and parcel of it. If things continue the way I see, I will resign from formal work as a government civil servant, and join fully agriculture. After all, it is all about serving yourself, family, community and the country maximally. And agriculture does it better.
“My main fear has always been rain fed agriculture; you know sometimes we are not certain about production, just because we depend on mercy of climate. You can easily make huge losses or profits, and such unpredictability of success or failure remains a daunting challenge to most farmers, and I am not unique.
Another thing that would put me off is channeling me to cattle keeping; I won’t manage for sure. You know we practice the kind of agriculture in Nyagatare District that would be wanted by government to remain almost exclusively for cattle keeping. But as a matter of fact, we make far more money in crop growing, than we would do in keeping cows. But since I am one of those meant to multiply seeds, to distribute to farmers, under RAB and Harvest Plus project, I expect special treatment. Otherwise, God forbid!
“To women: Don’t shy away. Give it a try; you won’t go wrong in agriculture. Women should also think beyond monthly paychecks.”