From subsistence to profit, SAPMP transforming farmers’ livelihoods through improved agricultural practices

Beatrice Nyiraneza is a 54-year-old single mother of four. She is one of the smallholder farmers whose lives have been changed for the better by the Sustainable Agricultural Productivity and Market Linkage Project (SAPMP) through improved agricultural practices.

Nyiraneza, a resident of Gatovu village, Mamba cell, Mamba sector, Gisagara district in Nyiramageni site says that before SAPMP intervention, she mixed a wide range of crops such as maize, beans, and soya on a small piece of land which could hardly sustain her household because the yield was little due to poor farming practices.

According to her, the land was also subject to soil erosion as a result of poor land management and agricultural practices. The low yields and other farming challenges limited Nyiraneza and her fellow farmers from achieving productivity and improved lives.

Following the intervention of SAPMP in Nyiramageni, the project embarked on implementing comprehensive land husbandry activities on Nyiramageni hillside to control soil erosion and increase soil fertility which has boosted land productivity.

Thousands of farmers were employed by the SAPMP as manpower to participate in the transformation of their land using comprehensive land husbandry technologies.

After land treatment, from the same piece of land where Nyiraneza could not feed her family, she has transformed into a self-sufficient farmer due to improved soil fertility as a result of proper land management and improved agricultural practices.

SAPMP has supported Nyiramageni farmers to applying good agricultural practices and enhance their agricultural productivity potential in order to improve their production capacity

As smallholder farmers improve their agricultural production beyond subsistence levels, SAPMP has ensured that they access agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers on time.

The provision of agricultural inputs alongside agronomy training and improving the capacity of farmers in using the inputs and adopting good agricultural practices has led to increased yield and improved household incomes among farmers.

Due to increase in yield, SAPMP has equipped farmers with post-harvest storage facilities to ensure that smallholders are able to minimise post-harvest losses and keep their produce safe until the moment of sale.

The project has also supported farmers to establish tree nurseries with a variety of tree and fruit species which has enabled them to plant trees on consolidated lands and within their homesteads. The fruit trees aim to improve household nutrition.

SAPMP has taught farmers to make quality compost to increase soil fertility, thus increasing productivity. Compost making has been another source of revenues to farmers.

In order to increase bargaining power of farmers, the project organised farmers into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and later on cooperatives.

SAPMP is funded by 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).