July 15, 2024

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Rusenge: Appropriate farming on terraces increased productivity

By Isabella Iradukunda Elisabeth

Residents of Rusenge Sector in Nyaruguru District are proud of the progress they have made following the shift from disorganized farming to the convenient farming on terraces.

These communities are united in cooperatives with the aim of increasing productivity while at the same time practicing sustainable agriculture.

After forming the cooperative, with the support from the district they have been able to construct terraces to grow potatoes and coffee, all of which are said to contribute to their development due to higher yields than they used to harvest.

The dominant crops in Nyaruguru District, especially in the Rusenge sector, are dominated by potato, tea and coffee.

The members of the NYAMPINGA cooperative said that they have started from one coin of Rwf 100 that each one had to save on a regular basis until they get enough capital to start the Cooperative.

On the other hand, the members of the Cooperative say they have some of the various challenges that they want the local administration to help them solve.

Some of these challenges include lack of transport means specially to facilitate the delivery of the produce to the market.

They also complain about the price of coffee which they said is too low compared to the effort invested in coffee farming. They want the price to go beyond the current Frw 250.  

In addition to this NYAMPINGA Coffee Farming Cooperative, there is also a Potato Farmers’ Cooperative that cultivates on the terraces.

These also are concerned about the market for potato as they project an increase in potato harvests.

Nyabyenda Leonard, one of the potato growers on terraces in Rusenge Sector, Cyuna Cell, said, “Before forming the cooperative, we used to face erosion that took the soil to the valley.”

“So far we have seen the benefits of planting on horizontal terraces. There is land consolidation, and there is also water retention so that it does not take over farmers ’crops. So now there is a big difference because when you look at it before, we didn’t do anything but now we are cultivating and harvesting well”

Esther Mukangango, a representative of the Nyampinga Coffee Cooperative, said, “The cooperative has lifted us out of isolation. We didn’t even have a place to deliver polished coffee, and now there is a factory that buys our coffee and they paid us well.”

“Today we are no longer worried about paying for health insurance, we have joined the EJO HEZA Saving Program,” she said.

In 2018, they harvested 300 tons and 200 kilograms of coffee, she added.

Esther Mukangango, a representative of the Nyampinga Coffee Cooperative

“We only sell coffee outside of Rwanda in the United States. There are still a few people who know how to process it, but what we want is for the authorities to help us find other places to extend our coffee farming and to get a car that can help us to take the produce at the factory,” she noted.

Nyaruguru District Mayor Gashema Janvier told this website that he is very grateful to the members of the Nyampinga cooperative for the good produce following the formation of the cooperative.

He said the administration had also come up with a way to find potato markets for the benefit of the farmers and said that in the case of the Nyampinga cooperative, they would talk to them and see how they can get the car and if it is not possible, they would find other donors to help them.

Gashema Janvier said: “After helping them to construct terraces for, they cultivate the same crop and use more productive seeds which is why the production has gone up from 10 tonnes of potato harvests per hectare up to between 26 and 30 tonnes”

He added that with regard to the construction of a potato processing plant, once the increase of production continues a small factory will be set up to help farmers.

“Normally the price is set by the National Agricultural Export Board after assessing the market situation,” Gashema said, referring to the increase in the price of coffee from Frw 250 to Frw 350.

“We will continue to discuss this and the price will change according to the market situation as we did from Frw 219 to Frw 250, the more we process our coffee the better and better it will be in the market and the higher the price,” he said.

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