Once marginal and unproductive land in Nyiramageni site located in the districts of Gisagara and Nyanza, Southern Province is promising an increased agricultural productivity following the intervention of Sustainable Agricultural Productivity and Market Linkage Project (SAPMP) in the area, more than a year ago.
Due to a hilly terrain that was prone to soil erosion, Nyiramageni farmers were unable to reach their full agricultural productivity potential, and as a result many small holder farmers remained poor as they barely produced enough to feed their families.
Following the intervention of SAPMP in Nyiramageni in January 2021, the project embarked on implementing comprehensive land husbandry activities on Nyiramageni hillside to control soil erosion and increase soil fertility which will ultimately boost the land productivity.
Thousands of farmers were employed by the SAPMP as man power to participate in the transformation of their land using comprehensive land husbandry technologies.
Comprehensive land husbandry technologies included several land management techniques such as soil bunds, terraces, cut-off drains, water ways, afforestation and reforestation.
“Our land was unproductive and marginal. The yield was little and poor due to soil erosion and poor agricultural practices. But, after implementing land husbandry technologies on our land by SAPMP, we immediately cultivated maize and beans and the yield looks amazing,” said Jean D'Amour Habumugisha, a resident of Sakofi Village, Gakoma Cell, Mamba Sector in Gisagara district.
Habumugisha one of the smallholder farmers in the SAPMP site said that he was employed in the land husbandry activities as manpower and received his payment on time.
“I used to harvest 150 kilograms of maize and 50 kilograms of beans on 15 Ares which did not satisfy my family. Life was very challenging, because I had no income to sustain my family,” he explained.
Habumugisha added: “When SAPMP terraced my land, i immediately cultivated maize and by the look of things and how the yield is healthy, i am expecting to harvest 400 kilograms of maize and this is just the beginning.”
He said that the money he was paid for participating in land husbandry works enabled him to construct a decent house, pay health insurance for his family as well as school fees for his children.
“I greatly appreciate efforts taken by SAPMP and the government of Rwanda to transform our land into productive one which will improve our lives and incomes,” said Habumugisha
The main objective of SAPMP is to strengthen sustainable agricultural productivity and market linkages through increased agricultural productivity of farmers and improved marketability of agricultural products within the project areas of intervention.
“I am so grateful for SAPMP because it has changed my life for better. I was employed in land husbandry works as manpower supervisor. I was paid really well. The money i got helped me to construct a new house, buy a cow, and to take care of my child. I am really excited,” said Jacqueline Nizeyimana, a resident of Bukorota Village, Mbogo Cell, Gikonko Sector in Gisagara District.
She added that before SAPMP intervention in the area, she had no means of survival because she was jobless, and being a single mother of one, it was very difficult to get home basic necessities and food for the baby.
“I thank SAPMP for supporting us to transform our land into the productive land. I am happy that I managed to construct a commercial shop from the income i got from supervising manpower activities during land husbandry works,” emphasised Nizeyimana.
Apart from Nyiramageni hillside, SAPMP is also developing Nyiramageni marshland into productive marshland.
Throughout the project, it is expected that approximately 500 ha of hillside and 600 ha of marshland will be developed. The capacity building of farmers and agriculture infrastructure such as drying facilities and storages will be provided in order to increase the productivities of agriculture crops and their qualities.
SAPMP also seeks ways of strengthening the marketability of produced agriculture products. This intervention will be mainly made in the areas of the recently completed KOICA funded project: Rural Community Support Project (RCSP). They are Ruterana in Muhanga District; Kajevuba and Ruzigambogo in Gasabo District; Kanyonyomba in Gatsibo District; Rwinkwavu in Kayonza District; Bwanya in Gicumbi and Gatsibo Districts and Gakenke in Gakenke District.
By improving post-harvest capacity and broadening access to market and financial services, the Project will enhance agriculture value chain in these areas and as well as strengthen the sustainability of KOICA project in Rwanda. Especially, a close cooperation will be made with WFP for this objective through its Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) program.
About 13,019 households and approximately 56,000 people will directly benefit from SAPMP.
The project will also benefit other value chain actors including users and operators of farming machineries, processing equipment and facilities, agro dealers and laborers in construction.
SAPMP is particularly keen on vulnerable groups who need more support from the project. The project target group consists of smallholder farmers and low-income households who cultivate up to 0.2-0.3 ha in marshland and 0.3-0.5 ha in hillside.
The project will give specific support packages to them and monitor the extent to which the project target group access project benefits. SAPMP will also develop special measures to target women farmers, especially women heads of households, and resource-poor farmers with little land for cultivation to ensure their inclusion.
SAPMP is funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and implemented under SPIU World Bank and KOICA funded projects of the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).