FAO has developed the project "Feeding Urbanization: Building Prosperous Small Cities and Towns". The aim of the project is to contribute to the improvement of livelihoods in small cities and towns through sustainable food production, off-farm value-adding operations and services, and well-targeted market linkages. Under the project, FAO has signed an agreement with European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD) to carry out an assignment entitled "Increasing Capacity of Smallholder farmers in Rulindo to supply fresh agricultural products to markets in Rulindo and in Kigali".
Therefore for a period of 6 months, farmers in the project intervention areas, initially scattered have been grouped into active cooperatives and Water users Organizations especially in Gacuragiza and Cyonyonyo marshlands located in Rulindo district. Through several trainings and study tours, farmers’ capacity were strengthened to produce high quality and quantity of agricultural products to markets in Rulindo and in Kigali and consequently increase their income and improve livelihoods.
The project achievement have been presented during a stakeholders workshop held in Rulindo on 6th May 2022. The workshop objective was to communicate, share and validate the achievements and collect ideas on the way forward for sustainable supply of fresh agricultural products in Rulindo and Kigali markets.
The workshop gathered together different institutions involved in the project such as FAO, EUCORD, Rulindo District Authorities, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), local authorities, Farmers cooperatives and Water Users Organizations.
Phocas NZABAKURIKIZA and Janvier HABUMUREMYI the Chairmen of cooperatives newly established in Gacuragiza and Cyonyonyo marshlands appreciated technical support provided by EUCORD and financial support from FAO
"We are grateful to EUCORD technical support provided during our journey toward strengthening capacity of our marshland users to produce fresh agricultural products and supply to Kigali and Rulindo markets. We used to work individually without serious plan, but now we are grouped into a cooperative with a clear future. We are adopting good agricultural practices especially on maize, beans, irish potato and vegetables in order to meet high market demand while increasing our income. We are therefore shifting from subsistence agriculture to business oriented agriculture. Thanks to study visits paid in some advanced agricultural based cooperatives using marshlands in Kigali, we are confident that we will reach a level to export our products abroad. Unfortunately our marshland is not yet developed and we still need a support to develop irrigation infrastructures."
After a capacity needs assessment conducted by EUCORD for capacity building and revitalization of farmers groups, farmers were trained on key important topics such as Good Agriculture Practices, Planning and budgeting, Good governance, Financial management, Marketing and Gender mainstreaming into agriculture. Integrated Water users Organizations were also established and trained on local water management options water harvesting and soil conservation, irrigation water infrastructures management, conflict resolution and management into water users.Cooperatives chairmen witnessed that they were used to crop for home consumption but now they shifted to market oriented agriculture by using improved agricultural practices and high value crop diversification. They are now planning to sign farming contracts with exporters especially in Horticulture. However, farmers requested for more coaching and mentorship from FAO and EUCORD to meet international market quality standards.
Dr Christine MUKANTWALI in her message as a Focal person of the project under FAO Rwanda requested farmers to use the knowledge and skills obtained for production and supply of diverse, high quality and quantity of fresh agricultural products in Rulindo and in Kigali markets.
Emmanuel HATEGEKIMANA, The Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management representing Mayor of Rulindo District recognized the full worth of EUCORD-FAO-Rulindo District partnership in agriculture development in the district and encouraged farmers to go beyond extra mile and become farmers businessmen.
Jean Claude MUHIRWA, the project coordinator under EUCORD appreciated FAO, Rulindo districts and farmers for great collaboration during the project implementation and promise further partnership for market oriented agriculture in the district.
EUCORD is an International Non-Profit Organization with a mission to increase farmers’ capacity to sustainably grow quality crops that match the commercial needs of the agribusiness sector and in doing so, increase food security, develop the private sector and improve the livelihoods of rural communities.
EUCORD has been active in Rwanda since 2014 and successfully implemented various Agriculture and climate change adaptation and mitigation related projects such as Community Revenue Enhancement Through Agricultural Technology Extension (CREATE) project, the UHIRA WUNGUKE Project and GROWING WITH CHANGE Project in drought prone areas of Eastern Province under Rwanda Green Funds.