Smallholder farmers organized under cooperatives in the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP) intervention sites across the country have embraced greenhouse technology in a bid to boost productivity.
Greenhouse is a modern farming technology that controls air temperature, humidity, light level and ventilation that plants need for optimum output.
In order to increase the productivity of farmers in SAIP sites, the Project equipped farmers organized under cooperatives with greenhouse structures to enhance productivity, improve the quality of the yield and as well promote the use of technology.
Greenhouse farming is fast gaining popularity among farmers because it enables them to grow a wide range of vegetables throughout the year. The technology provides favorable conditions to the crops. It is mostly used in growing high value crops.
At the beginning, farmers organized under cooperatives cultivated tomatoes in greenhouses and the yield from greenhouse is five times higher than the one from open field.
“We cultivated tomatoes in greenhouse and the yield is amazing. Growing crops in greenhouse is far much better because the quantity of the yield is higher and you are sure of a good produce,” said Jean Baptiste Nzabamwita, one of the farmers that cultivated tomatoes in greenhouse in Nyanza SAIP site.
He added that compared to the open-field cultivation, greenhouse technology has turned around their fortunes because tomato fruits are fairly big in size, attractive, and in large quantity.
“We have been able to harvest tomatoes for a period of five months compared to open field where we harvest for only one month,” said Nzabamwita.
Ismael ayirwanda, President of KOAIGA Imitoma cooperative in Gatsibo SAIP site which cultivated tomatoes in greenhouse said that investing in greenhouse is profitable business that farmers can get their investment back within a year, because the yield is attractive and has huge market potential.
“The yield from greenhouse is five times higher than the one from open field,” he added.
Ayirwanda explained that the advantage of using the technology is that there is absolute guarantee of increased crop yields and minimal external threats to the crops.
With greenhouse farming, farmers are able to reduce the effects of unfavorable weather conditions such as high temperature, strong winds, heavy rainfall, hail storms and as well as pests and diseases on crops, hence leading to increased yield.
SAIP is the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) funded project through the World Bank Group– International Development Association (IDA). The Project is implemented under Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) of the Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).
The project objective is to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and food security of the targeted beneficiaries in the project intervention areas.
SAIP is implemented in eight districts; Rulindo, Rwamagana, Karongi, Rutsiro, Kayonza, Nyanza, Gatsibo, and Nyabihu, however, the project implementation will expand to other areas during implementation as needed by the Government of Rwanda and in agreement with the World Bank Group.
The Project targets to strengthen the development of sustainable market linkages and value addition, through increased performance and commercialization of selected value chains.