Muhanda farmers launch a cooperative with 10 million Rwf to invest in farming
The Cooperative of Environmental Protection and Farming in Sebeya catchment-CEPF grouping 154 landowners among them 69 women in the Muhanda sector of Ngororero district, has been launched with a capital of 10,199,500Rwf contributed between December 2020 to March 2021.
As revealed by Nsengimana Justin, the president of CEPF, all members of this cooperative have their land in Sebeya catchment where the project of Embedding Integrated Water Resource Management in Rwanda-EWMR has installed radical terraces as a strategy to fight erosion. “The project paid us for having installed these radical terraces on our land,” he added and explained that they made terraces on 89ha in the Muhanda sector.
Thus, Nsengimana mentioned that the idea started by forming four saving groups to gradually collect funds to help them start professional farming once they had completed terracing their land. “Now, these four saving groups’ members are in a strong and legal cooperative that can manage the farmers’ funds properly,” he pointed out.
Mukeshimana Denise, the Vice president of CEPF, said that the money they have put together is to purchase Irish potato seeds to plant in their terraces. “Irish potato seeds are at 530Rwf per kilo, and we need 25 tons to plant”, she clarified.
In addition, Mukeshimana added that they also have to buy NPK chemical fertilizers and pesticides with their own money to increase productivity. “We expect to harvest one ton per 100kgs of planted seeds”, she stated.
For Nsengiyaremye Fulgence, a cooperative member, expectations of professional Irish potato farmers improve their living conditions. “Our income is subject to increase and no longer food insecure,” he joyfully indicated.
The successful creation of CEPF results from consistent and constant community members’ mobilization to EWMR project activities, a component led by Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative-RWARRI.