Less than a year since they started growing chilli, pod peas and French beans for export to Europe, youth members of ‘Twigire Muhinzi’ Cooperative in Rukumberi, Ngoma District, are reaping their rewards. After practising farming for years without much success due to different issues especially drought, their lives changed late last year when they started using solar-powered irrigation along river Akagera.
The variety of crops they grow has increased, the area of cultivation increased from one hectare to ten and the cooperative members have increased from seven to 36.
The small scale irrigation site, consolidated among members, has also boosted the growth of some other crops like aubergine, cabbages, watermelon, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers which they supply to local markets in Kigali.
Introducing pod peas
The President of the cooperative; Straton Dusengimana says that they grow pod peas on two hectares and in the second week of January alone, he harvested 160 kilogrammes of the peas from five percent of the plantation. Today, the cooperative has signed on a client from Kenya who supplies their produce to Europe.
Chilli peppers cost Rwf300 if bought straight from the farm, and Rwf400 when bought from the warehouse in Kigali. French beans cost Rwf400 a kilo from the farm and Rwf500 when the cooperative transports it to Kigali. From the profits, every young member of the cooperative has managed to buy a plot to construct their own home.
[ Rwf 100 = € 0.096 ]