Ruzigambogo site was one of the Rural Community Support Project (RCSP) intervention sites countrywide and it is a project funded by Republic of South Korea through Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to support the Government of Rwanda to achieve its strategic goals of economic transformation whose main focus is to unlocking rural growth in order to increase agricultural production, increase beneficiary farmers’ income, reduce poverty and improving living conditions. The site is located in Gasabo District; at about 1 hour drive from Kigali. The Project site covers the sectors of Gikomero and Fumbwe of Rwamagana District. The site benefited 499 farmers’ households (355 males and 144 females), organized into 24 Self Help Groups (SHGs) spread across 8 zones.
Capacity building of farmers
Farmers have been trained on different modules aiming at creating strong farmers organizations and improving skills in a number of aspects including agricultural and marketing practices. After a period of 5 years, SHGs formed 2 cooperatives; URUMURI BANYARWANDA and KUNGAHARA GIKOMERO with 226 (149 males and 77 females) and 310 (185 males and 125 females), members respectively.
Members of these cooperatives have had extensive trainings on Social mobilization, cooperative management, good agriculture practices of staples and food crops, use of improved farming methods, marketing and financial literacy. Because of these trainings, farmers are able to organize themselves into strong producer organizations. To date, production of beans increased from 1.7tons/ha to 2.2tons/ha, maize increased from 3.2 tons/ha to 4 tons/ha while rice increased from 3.2Tons/ha to 5.8Tons/ha.The project sensitized farmers on kitchen garden construction to facilitate improved nutrition and a total of 526 kitchen gardens have been constructed.
The project also supported farmers with 2 post harvest storages, 2 drying ground, 2 weighing machine, 130 pallets, 100 sheetings, 1 maize sheller, 2 moisture meter and 2 winnower machines to minimize post-harvest losses and increase quality of produce in the rain-fed areas.
Training on post-harvest and marketing of produce
In order to increase the use of formal financial services, farmers in the site were linked to 1 Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCOs) where more than 85% of individual farmers have savings accounts, while 87% of SHGs opened accounts through which they get credit to finance their agricultural value chain.
· Soil erosion control with land husbandry technologies
The total area treated is 422 ha including 89 ha of improved bench terraces, 333ha of ditches. A total of 233,000 trees were planted to strengthen terraces in both the rain-fed on terrace embankments.
· Agriculture oriented infrastructures
The site is equipped with different agriculture oriented infrastructures for facilitating irrigation and produce transportation where constructed infrastructures were 5170m of main canal, 2820m of drainage canal, 3 intakes, 3km of road and 1 bridge.
· Agriculture Extension
Farmers in the site grow maize and beans on rotational basis season by season on the rainfed area of 75ha and rice on 16ha. For the seasonA 2019, maize produce off takers were African Improved Food (AIF) Ltd and rice sold to IZIMANO Industry located at Kayonza district.
Impacts recorded in Ruzigambogo site
The implementation of comprehensive land husbandry technologies implemented in Ruzigambogo site registered a number of successes, which include the following:
· 30% of the land treated that was marginal has now been converted into productive land by cassava planting;
· Use of compost, lime, moisture retention measures and other soil erosion control measures enhanced crop productivity from 1.7tons/ha to 2.2tons/ha for beans and maize increased from 3.2 tons/ha to 4 tons/ha respectively;
· Increased productivity and job creation to local beneficiaries through land husbandry works helped more than 17 farmers to build new houses, 14 have acquired cows and 98 bought small ruminants.
· 6 started income generating activities.
· The yield increase of beans enhanced food security, livelihood change whereby farmers acquired basic needs such as health insurance and now are able to afford to send their children to school.
· The introduction of kitchen gardens in the site has enabled farmers to plant vegetables for nutritious and healthy meals.