Farmers in Kirehe receive storage silos from RDO

25 Apr 2020
Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) on Friday distributed 35 grain silos to farmers in three cooperatives found in the sectors of Gahara, Gatore and Mushikiri in Kirehe District, Eastern Province.

The distributed silos are for hermetic storage of grains for smallholder farmers, which are very effective way of storing grains for longer periods. This storage technology renders airtight units to control moisture and insects that can damage stored dry agricultural commodities.

COAIGA Cooperative from Gahara Sector received 13 grain silos (9 plastic and 4 metallic), COOPAGA Cooperative from Gatore Sector got eight silos (6 plastic and 2 metallic) and MUFABEMACO Cooperative from Mushikiri Sector received 16 plastic silos.

Raphael Bayagambe, President of COAIGA applauded the services from RDO that facilitated the activity which will benefit farmers to store their produce and other services they received like trainings.

“Our farmers were over joyed and grateful to receive grain silos which will help them store their harvests mostly in these uncertain times of lockdown due to rampaging coronavirus,” he said.

Bayagambe explained that before they were given the silos, RDO trained farmers on postharvest handling and how to use the silos to ensure their harvest are stored in good conditions.

COAIGA Cooperative as a member of FtMA received the silos for the first time but the president of the cooperative says they will be ordering 50 more silos next week while envisioning the need in the coming months mostly in September and October.

Justin Byabagabo, RDO field officer in Kirehe explained that the cooperatives ordered the grain silos on behalf of their members. RDO facilitated the whole activity under Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) program which included procuring the silos with cost-share of 50% and also provides a sheeting as bonus for every silo that is procured, this is to help farmers to dry their harvests.



The silos which target smallholder farmers have a capacity to store about 350 Kilograms of maize (500 litres) and 500 kilograms (700 litres) for the plastic and metallic containers respectively.

The farmers who received the silos say were motivated to acquire these storage containers mostly because of the coronavirus lockdown where many outside services are restricted which pose challenges.

However, Bayagambe explains that they already had the idea to acquire individual storage equipment to help members of the cooperative to be food secure. Therefore working with FtMA is helping to raise productivity and well as access markets.

He emphasized that the cooperative has its own storage facility where they store collective productivity while the acquired silos were for individual members so that they could store harvests for their own consumption in future.

FtMA project was initiated by the World Food Programme (WFP) to support smallholder farmers increase productivity and gain access to market. The project which is implemented by RDO and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) works in 18 districts and is currently assisting 207 cooperatives regrouping 72,039 farmers including 35,570 women.

The initiative supports farmer cooperatives in terms of capacity building such as Good Agriculture Practices, Post-harvest handling and Storage, quality control and food safety training, to ensure they have high quantity and quality produce in each season, and be able to bring surpluses on market.

 
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FtMA bridges gap between maize farmers and buyers

28 Mar 2020
During this unprecedented time where the coronavirus pandemic has paralysed daily lives, work, business and travel, people still need to feed. The government of Rwanda issued instructions aimed at farmers to continue delivering food and get needed services amid the coronavirus lockdown but challenges remain mostly because of the unforeseen crisis.

Systems in place helping farmers are like the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA), initiated to support smallholder farmers to increase productivity and gain access to market has eased the link between farmers and buyers during this period.



Elie Mugishawimana, the manager of COOPAMA cooperative in Mimuri of Nyagatare District says having signed pre-harvest contracts with EAX and AIF facilitated the selling of their produce without any problem.

However, Mugishawimana notes they still have remaining stock that is yet to be taken but was facing one or two problems that needs to be solved to sale. Buyers normally send their field officers to scout for the harvest and check quality like levels of aflatoxin in the maize and the cooperative sends along their own worker to accompany the cargo up to the buyer’s warehouse.

During this period, some buyers were not able to send anyone because of transport blockade and trucks are currently not allowed to carry more than two people which prevents the person who normally accompanies the produce to the buyer.

Mugishawimana explains that accompanying the produce is an assurance that their cargo is not tampered with on the way because transportation is undertaken by a third party. He observes that something can be done on this issue by building a system that answers such small matters.

Arnold Ihimbazwe, EAX field officer in Gatsibo District says that during this period when travels have been suspended to curb the spread of coronavirus they faced transport challenges to reach the cooperatives.

The most commonly used mode of transport has been motor cycles which have been grounded. Ihimbazwe says is unable to scout for produce and test the quality before its transported to their warehouses.

“We haven’t created a system where farmers can automatically send the produce directly to buyers and we need to go on ground test the quality of the harvests to give them a go ahead.

Many farmers or cooperatives lack equipment to test aflatoxin levels in maize while some are lacking knowledge for postharvest handling.



Anowarita Musabyimana, Manager of Codegrifoga cooperative in Rwesheke in Gatunda sector, Nyagatare District said that last week they delivered maize to their contract buyer but it was refused because of aflatoxin.

She blamed this to lack of equipment that can monitor and test levels of aflatoxin in the maize. She says the cooperative was still facing postharvest handling challenges.

Aimable Usengimana, RDO senior extensionist for the Eastern Province confirmed such challenges as postharvest handling in affecting some cooperatives lacking knowledge and resources.

He notes that the FtMA project was initiated by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Rwanda in response to such challenges. The project supports smallholder farmers to increase on-farm productivity and market access, it has already mobilized off-takers willing to offer forward delivery contracts to farmers and cooperatives. Agricultural input dealers willing to provide high quality seeds and fertilizers to farmers have also been mobilized.

The project which is implemented by Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) works in 18 districts. They are currently assisting 207 cooperatives regrouping 72,039 farmers including 35,570 women which are growing maize or beans in season A, B, and C.

FtMA supports Farmer cooperatives in terms of capacity building such as Good Agriculture Practices, Post-harvest handling and Storage, quality control and food safety training, to ensure they have high quantity and quality produce in each season, and be able to bring surpluses on market.



Gilbert Gatete, RDO M&E Officer said that for this 2020A season alone, 177 farmer cooperatives signed 10,830 MT of Maize, 62% of the contracts are for grain selling model and 38% on cob selling model. There are six formal off-takers under FtMA and one non FtMA off-taker, they include AIF (5,075), EAX (3,290), SARURA (975), RGCC (120), MINIMEX (643), GORILLA Feeds (80) and 4B Holdings (200). So far 2,832.1 MT of maize were delivered by farmers to buyers signed with.

In Rwanda, FtMA is the only initiative in the maize sector to have connected farmers through forward delivery contracts to the largest commodity buyers in the country. These market linkages are helping to maximize financial returns for all value chain actors without sacrificing commercial viability.

 

 
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Farmers meet to review progress under FtMA

1 Aug 2019
About 203 farmer cooperatives from 18 districts met this Thursday at Hilltop Hotel in Kigali to review progress made under the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) initiative that helps to connect farmers to buyers and financial institutions.

The one day interactive meeting was organised by Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) with support from the World Food Programme (WFP).

Eugene Rwibasira, the Executive Secretary of RDO urged farmers to seize the available opportunities starting from the platform provided by FtMA where they can access markets from credible buyers.

He said that the platform offers market linkages in a sustainable way and brings along various partners including farmers, cooperatives, buyers, financial institutions, agri-focused organizations and non-governmental organisations that support farmers.

Ammar Kawash, FtMA Country Coordinator commended farmer cooperatives that have joined the platform saying that together they will achieve more.

He said that more farmer cooperatives have been joining FtMA citing 44 new cooperatives that have just joined this year.

In the region, FtMA is also working in Kenya and Tanzania, Kawash said that despite the Rwanda chapter being smaller was doing better as an effective platform that is already taking root.

During the event, best performing cooperatives from last year’s season were awarded with prices. Winners received sheeting and silos for storage, drinking water tanks, umbrellas and T-shirts courtesy of Kenya Commercial Bank - Rwanda. The first category had four cooperative, second category with five cooperatives and the third category had nine cooperative.

In Rwanda, FtMA is the only initiative in the maize sector to have connected farmers through forward delivery contracts to the largest commodity buyers in the country. The initiative is making present financial solutions scalable through introducing third party guarantors and training farmer organizations on governance and financial practices. The commitment of buyers is further being strengthened through the promotion of increased adoption of advanced post- harvest handling and storage technologies amongst farming communities.

FtMA Rwanda is bridging the gap between buyers and producers to maximize financial returns for all value chain actors without sacrificing commercial viability.

 
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2018 A Season Pre-planting Meeting of Farm To Market Alliance (FtMA) Farmer Cooperaatives.

26 Sep 2017
Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) in conjunction with World Food Program (WFP) is implementing FTMA (Farm To Market Alliance) formerly known as the Patient Procurement Platform -PPP, an initiative of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), AGRA and associated partners in support of market access for smallholder farmers. FTMA’s goal is to establish pro-smallholder agricultural value chains in partnership with public and private off-takers, credit and input providers and other commercial actors. It is against this background that RDO, WFP, AGRA and other partners organized a meeting for season 2018 A pre planting of all FATMA farmer cooperatives across the country, the meeting held on July 27th, 2017 at Hilltop Hotel.



From left to right: Saori KITAJIMA-WFP/FtMA, Eugene RWIBASIRA-ES RDO, Dr MUREKEZI-MINAGRI

Institutions participated are:
WFP, AGRA, Minagri, RDO, RWARRI, Private sector/Buyers (AIF, EAX, SARURA, EUCORD/PRODEV, RGCC), Media (The NewtTimes and umuseke.rw), ICCO-TERAFINA, All 2018A FTMA Farmer organizations
Introduction
The introduction and welcome remarks was given by the Executive Secretary of RDO, Eugene RWIBASIRA. He start by thanking all participants for giving priority to this important meeting, He then continues by explaining a little bit about FTMA project, He emphasized that FTMA is there to support farmers to have access to sustainable markets. He winded up by encouraging farmers to be motivated and to be brave and leave behind old mind-sets and grab the opportunities around them as the government of Rwanda is trying to build the capacity of all Rwandans especially farmers through good and innovative agricultural policies. He mentioned “let this meeting be an opportunity to all of us to make a sound plan of 2018 A.”



RDO’ Executive Secretary, Eugene RWIBASIRA welcoming the participants

On behalf of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), Anthony NGOSI in charge of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships was on board. He thank Dr MUREKEZI from Minagri for sacrifying his limited time and attend this meeting, He thank the Government of Rwanda for its good policies that help agriculture to improve. He argues that FTMA is one of the important projects that AGRA is counting on to have a good impact on farmers and Africans in general. He underlined that Rwanda is one of 11 countries they are proud to work with because is implementing well the program. He closed his speech by telling the farmers to keep on improving because they are not only feeding their families but also the whole nation.



Anthony NGOSI from AGRA during his speech

Ammar KAWASH, the coordinator of “Farm To Market Alliance” in Rwanda thanked RDO and RWARRI for preparing this meeting and bring on board different actors like Farmer organizations, Buyers, financial institution and other partners.
He added “we have right now 5 huge buyers (AIF, EAX, SARURA, PRODEV, RGCC) on board which is very important to all of us in the alliance, for the upcoming 2018A season, we want to build on the success we had in last 2017A season as we managed to have around 5000MT of aggregation and we have the target to reach 30,000 farmers during 2018A.”



Ammar KAWASH, the coordinator of “Farm To Market Alliance” in Rwanda

Ammar KAWASH, the coordinator of “Farm To Market Alliance” in Rwanda
Dr. MUREKEZI DG of Agriculture Development in MINAGRI, thank WFP and AGRA for bringing FTMA as a viable solution in terms of supporting farmers to have access to markets as it links farmers to buyers and financial institutions, He also said that the majority of Rwandan farmers have small land, to be able to supply sustainably to different markets it requires them to use improved agriculture practices in order to get high quantity and quality yield. It is in this regard that Government of Rwanda has put in place different policies like CIP, Rwanda Agricultural Extension Strategy, Postharvest handling and storage services.

 



Dr. MUREKEZI DG appreciating FtMA initiative

Dr MUREKEZI emphasized that we have to consider some challenges we faced in previous season like buyers who do not fulfil the contract terms, farmers who do sell produce to middlemen, the issue of aflatoxin so that we may work on it ahead of time.
He added that FTMA is mulching exactly the Government policies, He wish that the collaboration with the Government should be enforced and expand the program to other crops not only maize and beans. He concluded saying that Minagri is ready to support FTMA so that it can reach more than 30,000 farmers as the target looks.

Award giving
During last season FTMA has 81 cooperatives some of them did not perform their duties and they were eliminated e.g 8 cooperatives. This implies that during the coming 2018A season cooperatives will not only sign a contract with buyers but also with FTMA.





Cooperatives’ representatives receiving their awards

Only 26 cooperatives managed to deliver at least 90% of their commitment, out of 26, 6 cooperatives managed to deliver 50MT, there are also 7 cooperatives that managed to delive above 150% of their commitment.

This is how the prizes were distributed:
• All 26 cooperatives that delivered at least 90% of their commitment have been rewarded with a wheel barrow
• The 7 cooperatives that delivered 150% and more of their commitment will be rewarded with an extra of 5 tarpaulins.
• The 7 cooperatives that delivered at least 90% of their commitment and at least 50MT will be rewarded an extra of 5 tarpaulins.
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