Icyerekezo 2031- membership to be increased by 253% within two months
Two months ago, Icyerekezo/Vision 2031, the cooperative located in Gakenke district, Gashenyi sector, had 143 members. This number has increased by 253%, and now the cooperative has 505 members among them, 315 are women.
As stated by François Nkurikiyimana, the Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative –RWARRI field officer in Rulindo and Gakenke districts, when the Icyerekezo cooperative was identified last year to receive training on Good Agriculture Practices known as GAPs through the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) project, it had 143 members engaged in maize farming.
Nkurikiyimana added that as long as training was going on, the Icyerekezo cooperative members showed full interests to transmit learned new skills to their neighbors who were not yet members of any cooperative. "Both men and women started attending these training in big numbers and being mobilized to be part of this cooperative," explained Nkurikiyimana.
Thus, Theogene Kanyamuhanda, the president of Icyerekezo cooperative, acknowledged practicing traditional agriculture.
"We started fearing food insecurity, the rise of poverty and malnutrition among our members," he mentioned.
For Gaspard Kuradusenge, one of Icyerekezo 2031 new members, the FtMA project brought opportunities that any visionary farmer has to translate into realities. "Farmers in the Gashenyi sector were more than ever in need of improving their agriculture skills to increase productivity, upgrading their post-harvest handling and storage skills, and then being linked to markets for fair prices," he argued.
On the other hand, Esperance Bayavuge revealed that GAP training that attracted them includes land preparation, the use of organic manure and fertilizers, crop rotation, planting on time, use of improved seeds, and pesticide. Most importantly, she excitedly added, the expected production will increase in quality and quantity. "Never to worry about food security, poverty, nor malnutrition," she joyfully expressed.
Gakenke District counts nine cooperatives registered within the FtMA project, where about 3,220 members will be assisted technically for the current season from land preparation to production delivery to markets.