KARONGI – Research into Use (RIU), a DfID-funded project will fold its activities after nearly five years working with rural farmers in different districts.
Since 2008, the project has equipped rural farmers with modern farming skills in the districts of Nyagatare and Gatsibo in Eastern Province, Musanze and Gicumbi in the Northern Province and some districts in the Western Province.
According to the project country coordinator, Augustin Mutijima, the five-year term of their work mainly focused on introducing the ‘inventory credit system’, a programme that allows farmers to use their harvest as security to access credit, which has transformed farmers into agro-business practitioners.
Through the system, which commonly goes by a French name Warrantage, farmers’ harvest is stored in a warehouse or grain storage until the loan is serviced.
Speaking at the official closure of the project at Centre Bethanie in Karongi District, Western Province, Mutijima acknowledged the progress made by farmers in improving their lives.
“The main objective of this project was to ensure that farmers excel in agro-business…this was through modernisation of farming of different produce like maize, beans and cassava. The project is proud that it achieved its projected goals,” he said.
Warrantage was mainly introduced to protect farmers against selling their produce at low prices especially during harvest season.
“One of the advantages of this system is that farmers can sell their crops in the months after the harvest, when market prices are better. We are proud that we linked farmers with Duterimbere Micro Finance which gave them loans and all has been successful,” he said.
He reminded farmers that what the project has done was a foundation and that the beneficiaries should sustain their achievement and do even better.
Phiridaus Uwamahoro, a farmer from Mimuri sector in Nyagatare District said though RIU has closed shop, they will not relent from developing themselves.
“What RIU has done to us is like a parent feeding a child from infancy to adulthood…even if the project has closed, we are ready to keep practicing the skills they offered to us in implementing modern farming practices,” she said.
By Dan Ngabonziza, The New Times