About 25 kilometres from Kigali lies the Karenge Sector, Rwamagana District in the Eastern Province. It is a key source of bananas, vegetables and other cash crops for Rwanda’s capital city. At least 260 tonnes of vegetables, mainly tomatoes, bell peppers, pumpkins, watermelons and pineapples from Karenge are sold to Kigali every month.
The Karenge and Nyakariro sectors reportedly account for at least 60 per cent of the tomatoes and eggplant supplies to Kigali. Some vegetable produce from these two sectors end up in Rubavu District as well as Goma, in the Democracit Republic of the Congo.
The high production is thanks to Lake Mugesera and River Akagera, which have continued to facilitate irrigation on the farms and boosted the welfare of farmers.
Speraton Ntawumenyumunsi, a grower in the area, has more than 10 hectares of coffee, banana, macadamia, passion fruits, tamarillos and pineapples among others. Despite the challenge of banana disease, Ntawumenyumunsi says that banana farming is still his cash cow.
Ntawumenyumunsi, who employs 30 casual workers in his farm, said that he earns Rwf300,000 (€288) every month from his bananas plantation. His net monthly income is Rwf500,000 (€480) when he adds earnings from other crops.
“This happens when you do it excellently and follow technical advice from agronomists, and we are very lucky we have a Government that always has our back,” he explained. “A farmer nowadays is on top, and considering the situation in Karenge, if we keep having good weather, Rwandans should not worry, there will be no food problem.”