“The PNSADR-IM has been working for more than 3 years with the dairy and rice cooperatives of the Imbo region. For milk, we gave dairy cows to the people. We organize the farmers in cooperatives to be able to sell all their production because the major problem was to find where to sell the milk. We have built milk collection centers to help the beneficiaries of the cattle granted by the PNSADR-IM but also other private breeders of the locality, “says Mrs. Fidès Nduwayo, expert in the organization of producers and cooperatives in the region the Imbo within the PNSADR-IM. Beneficiaries are well aware of contributing up to 10% of the value of buildings and 10% of the value of equipment. It’s a way to make them responsible for maintaining them well after the project is closed. The two existing milk collection centers cost about 140 million FBu and the six storage sheds of the rice cooperatives cost more than 900 million FBu.
Good agricultural practices have increased production
The Farmer Field Schools (CEP) allowed rice farmers in Gihanga commune to significantly increase production. The CEP is a comparative approach between the so-called peasant practice and the Rice Intensive System (IRS), which is a better method to help rice farmers break with the old practice. “One of the expected results of the Field School Producer is that the producer is autonomous compared to the extension,” says Ms. Fidès Nduwayo. SRI gives farmers good production without spending a lot of money. “The system does not require a lot of seeds, as is the case with the old practice: only one seed can produce enough as long as the golden rule is followed.”
The PNSADR-IM has set up agronomists to supervise the farmers who work with this program. The intensive rice farming system has saved time and resources compared to the old system. “For example, on 1 ha instead of using 100 kg of seed, rice farmers can use 20 kg,” said Stany Nsabimana, one of the local rice farmers. He says they used to grow without worrying about good farming practices. Reason why the yield was not good.
Rice cooperatives to enhance production and combat usury
Rubin Sibomana, vice-president of the Seed Multiplication and Rice Marketing Cooperative “COMUSECORI” located in Rugombo commune, said that if it had not been for the PNSADR-IM, they would continue to take on more debt. Previously, everyone worked for themselves. The PNSADR-IM trained them on the benefits of working in groups through cooperatives. In addition, he built a large storage shed for improved rice conservation. They numbered 21, but now there are 350 of whom 262 are men and 88 are women. Production did not exceed 100 tons of rice per crop. Currently, production is around 2500 tons of rice per crop. There are no more members of the cooperative who resort to usury to save their families from hunger. When you need money, we credit the cooperative and the problem is solved. Sibomana reports that this program has given them pallets and moisture meters. It has built 6 storage sheds for rice cooperatives in the Imbo region (2 in Rugombo, 2 in Gihanga and 2 in Mpanda). Brand new shellers are already installed.
In Rugombo commune, the members of the cooperative “Muceriwacu” supervised by the PNSADR-IM do not hide their satisfaction. “Since 2015, the year in which the PNSADR-IM started to support us, our cooperative has made significant progress,” says Chantal Ndayizeye, a woman member of this cooperative. Among other things, it cites the capacity building of cooperative members in modern rice production through the intensive rice system. Thus, thanks to the training received, the production of rice per hectare has increased. She went from 50 bags to more than 80 bags of rice on the same plot. For her, the benefits of joining a cooperative are enormous. “It is easy to sell rice production at a good price. Moreover, the members of the cooperative receive chemical fertilizers at an affordable price, sometimes even on credit refundable at the time of harvest, “she adds. Before she joined the cooperative, Ndayizeye acknowledged that in case of illness, getting treatment was a headache. In addition to the money the co-op disburses, members contribute to supplement health care bills for members. Each year, they share the profits obtained from rice sales.
During the cropping season, farmers faced a problem of lack of liquidity. Henceforth, acquiring an input credit (chemical fertilizer and seeds) or agricultural credit (labor payment) is no longer a burden for these rice producers.
The milk collection centers at the service of breeders
According to Pascal Nsavyimana, member of the board of directors of the “Vumerinka” dairy cooperative of the commune Rugombo, the PNSADR-IM built a milk collection center equipped with tanks that can hold 100 liters of milk. He also gave them bicycles to collect the milk. The members of this cooperative contribute 10% of the value of the infrastructure. “Before the establishment of this center, the farmers had trouble selling the milk. Often, milk was even given on credit to the owners of the local cafeterias for lack of a market for the sale, “says Vital Girukwishaka, a farmer who came to sell his milk to the cooperative” Vumerinka “. According to Fidès Nduwayo, the milk collection center is very beneficial for farmers because the milk is recovered before being sold. “The milk is thoroughly tested and sold to manufacturers and different cafeterias. Farmers find a gain, because they have a safe market to sell their production. The CCLs are structured by municipality. So far, we have already structured two CCLs, one in the Rugombo commune and another in the Buganda commune, “she says.
Success, but also prospects
The PNSADR-IM plans to build two other milk collection centers, one in Gihanga commune and another in Mutimbuzi commune. “Since there are many breeders in Gihanga, we also plan to set up a mini-dairy so that the beneficiaries of the PNSADR-IM cattle and other farmers do not spend a lot of money to sell the milk elsewhere. Adds Ms. Nduwayo.
As for rice farming, it is planned to support 14 rice cooperatives in the Imbo region. “We already have 13 operational rice cooperatives with 6 rice storage sheds built. We work at the links of collection, conservation, processing, but also marketing, “she said. The collection and storage is done at the hangars, the processing is provided by the hullers to finally market the rice of good quality.
The establishment of rice cooperatives has had a direct impact on rice farmers because now the profit generated by the sale of production benefits the cooperators. Farewell usury and ignorance thanks to the cooperatives and techniques transmitted by PNSADR-IM. Successful achievements, depending on the beneficiaries. They say they are already well prepared to sustain the achievements of the PNSADR-IM through the various training organized by the program.