Farmers in Tuzamurane Muhinzi group of Buhabwa Village, Murundi Sector in Kayonza District reaped a bumper harvest of orange fresh sweet potatoes (OFSP) from the seeds provided to them by Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO).
Under the Hinga Weze project, farmers were given seeds for plants that are rich in Vitamin A which is part of the component to improve nutrition through agricultural interventions. The group of farmers were also given seeds for beans that are rich in iron and tree fruits.
Grace Nyirantagora, a member of the group and a farmer promoter says they planted the seeds provided by RDO in the communal garden as well as in their individual gardens where every member received at least two kilograms of bean seeds.
Tuzamurane Muhinzi group composed of 26 members cultivates on communal garden equivalent to a hectare in Buhabwa village that loaned to them by the sector authorities. The communal garden is a demonstration where they are trained on best agricultural practises and required to replicate them in individual gardens.
The seed grants from RDO to this group of farmers totalled to 600 kilograms of OFSP and 120 kilograms of beans. The seeds were expected to be returned after harvesting or passed on to another group of farmers in the neighbouring village.
Longin Mugabo, Hinga Weze agronomist in Kayonza oversaw the harvesting at Buhabwa by Tuzamurane Muhinzi. Following the bumper harvest of the sweet potatoes, seeds were passed on to another group of farmers from the neighbouring village of Chamburara.
Mugabo observed that farmers called him to Buhabwa so that they could personally thank him on behalf of his project and return the seeds they received.
“We are excited to harvest such high productivity of orange fresh sweet potatoes,” Nyirantagora said that the high productivity was because of the good seeds from Hinga Weze. “We are also going to give the seeds to another group in Chamburara and our fellow farmers in our village as we have been advised by our benefactors.”
Nyirantagora explains that they harvested at the communal garden but other members of the group would continue to harvest in their individual gardens and distribute the seeds to other farmers.
Vestine Musabyimana, a resident of Buhabwa received OFSP seeds and 2 kilograms of bean seeds, she planted the beans on 2-acres land where she was able to harvest 30 kilograms. She says this was the first time she got such higher productivity from beans high in iron.
She says that since their group started working with Hinga Weze they are improving their farming activities because they have been trained on best practises and the demonstration garden has helped to get hands on knowledge.
Tuzamurane Muhinzi group in Buhabwa also returned the bean seeds they were given by RDO. Mugabo thanked the farmers for working well with the project and remaining true to their word.
He told the farmers that the project is intended to support farmers to increase their production and the seeds that were returned would be distributed to other farmers.
Evrard Kayinamura, Hinga Weze District Manager in Kayonza underlined that his project works to improve the agriculture sector in Rwanda. He says they are implementing Hinga Weze in three broader components by increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability, improving farmer’s market access and improving nutrition.
“Simply our project is to support farmers to produce more in quantity and quality, then sale more to the market while they feed well,” Kayinamura notes.
Hinga Weze aligns with the government’s strategic plan for the transformation of agriculture which emphasizes increased use of inputs, irrigation, and mechanization.
Kayinamura emphasized that they implement the project based on existing government structures and support smallholder farmers in groups.
“We don’t distribute seeds only, we provide a full package of services to smallholder farmers including solar irrigation, agricultural inputs, nutrition, access to market and access to finance,” underlined Kayinamura.
In Kayonza, Hinga Weze is already registering achievements having successfully established a productivity scheme in Ndego, a solar irrigation system on 20 hectares and another 10-hectare is soon starting in Rwinkwavu.
Working in eight sectors of the district, the project has also supported poultry farming where 10,800 chicks have been distributed to 1,800 households as well care groups.
Hinga Weze is a 5-year USAID funded project targeting to support 200,000 smallholder households increase income, improve nutritional status of women and children, and the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.
Plans are to strengthen inclusive, competitive, and nutrition-sensitive value chains; increase incomes and access to market information; and improve the food security and diets of vulnerable households. The focus is in five value chains: bean, maize, Irish potato, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), and horticulture.
With interventions in Eastern, Western, and Southern provinces, Hinga Weze is implemented by RDO, CNFA –Plan International, HarvestPlus, Souktel, and Imbaraga Farmer Organisation in 10 Districts of Bugesera, Gatsibo, Kayonza, and Ngoma (Eastern Province); Karongi, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Nyamasheke, and Rutsiro (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province).
RDO implements the project in four districts of the Eastern province; they include Bugesera, Gatsibo, Kayonza and Ngoma.