April 20, 2024

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Coffee Growers in Gicumbi District Gain Valuable Insights from Bio Coffee Company Visit

BY TOP AFRICA NEWS

A group of coffee growers from Gicumbi District recently embarked on a field visit to the Bio Coffee Company in Karongi District, Mubuga Sector. The visit, organized under the Farmer Field School initiative as part of the Green Gicumbi Project sponsored by FONERWA, took place on January 18, 2024.

The Farmer Field School initiative is a crucial component of the broader Green Gicumbi Project, which aims to empower local farmers with the knowledge and skills necessary to transition to sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural practices. The coffee growers were eager to enhance their knowledge and adopt sustainable farming practices, making the visit to Bio Coffee Company an important step forward.

Mimosa pudica, plants that are used in coffee plantations that serve to maintain soil

Bio Coffee Company is renowned for its commitment to environmentally friendly practices through organic coffee cultivation on at least 180 hectares three years ago. It has served as an exemplary model for the Gicumbi farmers who are looking to improve the quality and sustainability of their coffee production.

During the field visit, the Gicumbi coffee growers had the opportunity to witness firsthand the successful implementation of organic coffee cultivation techniques. They were exposed to a range of best practices employed by Bio Coffee Company, including natural fertilization methods and pest control measures that avoid harmful chemicals. These insights into organic farming not only help preserve the environment but also result in high-quality produce.

Habyarimana Diogène, the representative of the farmers, highlighted the key takeaways from the visit, stating, “We have seen what we need to do, and when we return home, we will start looking for ways to prepare fertilizer so that we can implement what we have learned and encourage our colleagues. This study tour was very important for all of us.”

Bantegeye Amina emphasized that their previous knowledge of caring for coffee plantations was insufficient. She said, “We have been using bean and corn leftovers, but we realized that there are other techniques, such as growing grass, that would be more effective.”

Ntakirutimana Theogène, Project Watershed Protection Specialist, explained the purpose of the visit, stating, “We wanted to equip the farmers with skills to grow organic coffee, taking Mubuga Bio-Coffee Company as an example. By witnessing how others apply these techniques, the farmers are inspired to do the same when they return home.”

The journey of Gicumbi coffee growers to Bio Coffee Company serves as a beacon of hope and progress in the realm of sustainable agriculture. Through continuous learning and the exchange of best practices, these farmers are not only securing a better future for their crops but also contributing to the global movement towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious coffee industry.

Thanks to the support from the Green Gicumbi Project, the cooperative of coffee farmers in Bwisige Sector has been able to cultivate 40 hectares and achieve a production of 600 tons over three years.

Niwemugeni Jeanne d’Arc, agronomist of Mubuga Bio Coffee, sharing skills in organic coffee farming

In 2019, the Government of Rwanda secured a funding of USD32 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the Ministry of Environment to implement the project titled “Strengthening climate resilience of rural communities in Northern Rwanda.” Locally known as the “Green Gicumbi Project,” it is currently implemented by the National Fund for Environment-FONERWA, with the Ministry of Environment as the Accredit Entity.

The six-year project aims to reduce vulnerability to climate change by enhancing the adaptive capacity of targeted groups in the project intervention area and reducing their exposure to climate risks. The project covers nine sectors within the Muvumba B sub-catchment, comprising approximately 252 villages and targeting 150,000 direct beneficiaries and 380,000 indirect beneficiaries. The sectors covered by the project include Rubaya, Cyumba, Kaniga, Mukarange, Rushaki and Shangasha, Manyagiro, Byumba, and Bwisige.

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