Good Agriculture Practices increased maize production
COAMANYA Gishubi Cooperative in Gisagara District, Gishubi Sector, has around 500 farmers exploiting almost 100ha. Niyitegeka Venuste, one of COAMANYA Gishubi members, confirms to have increased maize production from less than 1 metric ton to 5 metric tons per hectare due to Good Agriculture Practices/GAP adoption.
“It is almost one year since we started being trained on Good Agriculture Practices/GAP by the Farm to Market Alliance-FtMA project agronomists,” said Niyitegeka Venuste. Farmers in COAMANYA Gishubi Cooperative used to practice traditional agriculture. In fact, he added, we didn’t know how to prepare our lands, to use improved seeds, to use fertilizers and pesticides.
Niyitegeka regrets to have wasted time and energy in practicing traditional agriculture. “We couldn’t satisfy our basic need for food; we were always facing hunger and malnutrition in our families,” he replied and confirmed that when they started being trained in GAP, they saw their lives changing.
According to Niyitegeka, their lands didn’t change the size, but the production has been increased from 1 to 5 metric tons of maize per hectare. However, we still need to be trained regularly since there are always new technologies and skills in agriculture.
On his side, Munyeshyaka Jimmy, Senior Extension Officer in RWARRI, affirms that GAP training is designed to help farmers to increase maize production. Thus, he said, farmers are introduced to modern agriculture that requires investments as long as there will be a return on this investment. “After a well land preparation, farmers have to buy inputs among others seeds, pesticides, inorganic, and manure fertilizers and then they have to learn how to apply them,” Farmers are not only assisted to increase the production but also they are also assisted to improve the quality of their maize and minimize post-harvest losses through what is called the post-harvest harvest and storage training.
Along the maize production process, Munyeshyaka revealed that farmers are also linked to maize’s buyers through their respective cooperatives. “It is very beneficial and encouraging to have farmers producing maize for the formal market and get good prices,” he added.
In Gisagara District, The FtMA project introduced by WFP assist 20 farmers’ cooperatives composed of 14,134 farmers with 50% women.