Kigali – November 28, 2018: Our initiated and first ever agricultural caravan in Rwanda was launched in Kigali with a call on youth to work hard to transform their initiatives into viable agribusinesses as a key to achieve Rwanda’s sustainable development.
RYAF Youth shops
The call was made by the minister for public service and labor, Ms Rwanyindo Kayirangwa Fanfan, before the youth caravan kicked off in Kigali, while officiating the opening of RYAF SHOPS ltd, a private company owned by the Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum RYAF.
This company was created to put into action a strategy that promotes a reform in food and agricultural trading mechanisms in Rwanda, by and for RYAF members as engine for positive agribusiness transformation.
Ms Rwanyindo was thrilled by the initiative and assured the youth that the government is committed to support all mechanisms to make the agriculture more attractive to the youth, through harnessing digital solutions since agriculture remains pivotal to the country’s economy.
“Some people used to shun the agriculture because they’re wrongly assuming that it isn’t a money making sector. Yet some of you have proved them wrong because you’re now making financial returns for your investments but also contributing to the government ‘Made in Rwanda’ campaign,” said minister Rwanyindo.
Minister Rwanyindo also highlighted the good choice of Kigali downtown, one of the busiest places around the city with potentials buyers. She promised them that the government will continue to address intertwined issues of making agriculture attractive to youth while maximizing financial returns.
RYAF SHOPS Ltd has a core mission to set up and run shared market outlets for food and agricultural products in Rwanda.
Off to Musanze disctrict: poultry farm!
After the minister opened the shop, the waiting youth caravan moved and close to hundred participants departed in a jovial mood, eager to learn from successful agripreneurs in Musanze district in the northern province of Rwanda, in Bugesera in the East and in the capital Kigali.
The caravan that took Kigali – Bugesera lap, visited a modern poultry farm that started small back in the days, but the owner grew slowly. He explained to the caravan participants about the challenges facing small-scale producers and ways in which these can be overcome.
Mr Hassan BYANKUNDIYE explained the difficulties experienced by new and small-scale poultry farmers that can generally be attributed to three factors: ‘farm blindness’, poor access to markets resulting in cash-flow and production management problems, and inefficient disease management.
Vegetable farming in Bugesera district
The trip continued to Mayange in Bugesera district in East Rwanda, where the caravan were taken through a length visit to ‘SunRipe’ modern farm that is involved in growing high quality product to the local market and to give the market specialty gourmet vegetables and herbs that are often not available locally.
They also specializes in farm management and benchmarking tools to increase production for vegetables and fruit, said William Macharia, an agronomist dubbing the production manager docket.
“We grow egg plant, tomatoes, dry green beans, french green beans, green pepper, sweet pepper, oyster mushroom, Habonero chili, Swiss Chard, leeks, beetroot, broccoli, red cabbage, parsley, chinese cabbage,” Mr Macharia revealed.
In Musanze district, the youth participants visited Uburanga products ltd which is owned by Nshimiyimana Phocas, a young entrepreneur who started his business slow by slow, the company produces herbal soap, herbal jelly and other different cosmetics from Igikakarubamba (Aloe Vera) as the main raw materials. He is now training and encouraging local farmers to grow the Aloe Vera as he will buy their harvest.
Last stop: Intego Cooperative
Again, the youth participants moved a bit closer to the national Volcano Park where there they visited Intego cooperative (26 women and 4 men) which gave us an inspiring story about how the cooperative started! The cooperative started as group saving and it failed 2 times in agribusiness projects but some cooperative members didn’t give up, they continued saving 5000Frw per month and started irish potato seed multiplication as business. Ms Alphonsine, the president of the cooperative explained how they work, “We buy mini tubers from INES Ruhengeri University, we multiply them into pre-base, pre-base to base seeds and base seeds to certified seeds which are sold to local fermer, we now have a big market compare to our products”, said Ms Alphonsine.
At all sites, participants were given a platform to exchange and ask questions but most importantly networking opportunities for future mentorships.
The “Youth in Agribusiness Caravan” is being carried out by the AgriProFocus Rwanda, in collaboration with our partners Rwanda Youth In Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), the ministry of agriculture and animal resources MINAGRI, HortINVEST, Help a Child Rwanda, ICCO Cooperation, USAID Feed the Future Hinga Weze, Rural Development Initiative and YEAN Rwanda.