On a chilly morning in Nyarugenge cell, Rubengera sector, Karongi district, Jean Paul Kubwimana is seen busy picking tomatoes from a greenhouse with a smile on his face before transporting the yield to markets.
Inside Kubwimana’s greenhouse, there are several rows - a metre apart - of tall tomato plants with freshly looking fruits dangling from each, create a beautiful spectacle.
Kubwimana, 40-years-old is among smallholder farmers and investors in the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP) intervention sites countrywide who received greenhouses from the Project through matching grants.
SAIP which is implemented under Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) has supported farmers to acquire greenhouses through matching grants with the aim of increasing productivity and promoting the use of the technology.
The youthful farmer said that it is the first time he cultivated in a greenhouse and that the greenhouse technique is bearing him fruit as he is beginning to realise a bumper harvest.
"I thank SAIP for supporting me to acquire a greenhouse through matching grant and as well received trained on how to maintain it, for the crops to thrive. I cultivated tomatoes in the greenhouse and the yield is extremely amazing," said Kubwimana, a father of two.
Kubwimana explained that before venturing into greenhouse farming, he was a commercial motorcyclist as well cultivating vegetables including tomatoes in the open field and the income he got was little to sustain his family.
“The idea to apply for greenhouse matching grant started when I saw the tomato yield from another greenhouse belonging to Dukorerehamwe Self Help Group. The yield was plentiful and tomato fruits were fairly big in size and healthy,” said Kubwimana.
He added that he sold his motorcycle and decided to apply for matching grant from SAIP and this didn’t take him long to get it.
Kubwimana said that compared to the open-field production where he hardly earned above Rwf10,000 a week, the greenhouse technology has now turned around his fortunes, at times earning him as much as Rwf150, 000 a week.
“I used to get a small income while growing tomatoes under the open field system because the yield was low and poor,” he added.
Greenhouse is a modern farming technology that controls air temperature, humidity, light level and ventilation that plants need for optimum output.
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 has put much emphasis in supporting smallholder farmers towards improving food security, market access and household incomes in its areas of intervention across the country.
Improved agricultural practical trainings delivered by SAIP are helping smallholder farmers in the Project sites to adopt new practices, increase their productivity and become more profitable.