After receiving a greenhouse matching grant from the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP), Safi Mukundwa ventured into lucrative horticulture farming in the greenhouse within the project site in Muyanza, Rulindo district.
Mukundwa cultivated bell peppers (yellow, red and green capsicum) in the greenhouse and she has since recorded better and increased yield, which motivated her efforts to turn to commercial agriculture.
“When SAIP called for matching grant business proposals, i applied for a greenhouse matching grant, because i wanted to try greenhouse farming technology. I cultivated bell peppers in the greenhouse and the yield is extremely amazing,” said Mukundwa.
Mukundwa added that before venturing into greenhouse farming, she was cultivating vegetables in the open field and the yield was low due to unfavorable weather conditions as well as pests and diseases.
“I started harvesting bell peppers from the greenhouse about one month and two weeks ago and the yield is healthy and fairly big in size. Every week, i harvest between 150 kilograms and 180 kilograms of bell peppers,” she explained.
According to her, bell peppers are mostly used in salads and are quickly becoming common with consumers, and they have a good market potential.
She sells a kilogram of bell peppers at 3,000 Rwandan Francs.
“I thank SAIP for supporting me to find ways of earning a livelihood and creating employment through agribusiness. I have now acquired another greenhouse from SAIP where i have cultivated tomatoes though they are at a flowering stage,” said Mukundwa.
Mukundwa’s biggest market for the bell peppers is Kigali, adding that she sells most of her yield through online social media marketing by posting photos of her yield on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook).
She added that sometimes she takes her produce to the buyers and other times buyers come for produce from the greenhouse at the farm.
Mukundwa said that with greenhouse farming technology, she uses less labor and fertilizers and she is able to grow crops at any time of the year.
“I am planning to create an online portal where i will be selling my produce because there is a huge customer base compared to traditional marketing,” she said.
According to her, the technology gives plants what they need in terms of perfect lighting conditions, the exact amount of water and carbon dioxide, right amount of nutrition, and proper ventilation as well as protect the crops from pests and diseases.
“SAIP is changing my life for the better through commercial farming. I am forever grateful to the project for giving me an opportunity to improve my household income through agribusiness,” said Mukundwa.
She encourages the youth to embrace commercial agriculture most especially greenhouse farming technology and not put much attention on the elusive white-collar jobs.