Farmers growing rice in Muvumba marshland located in Nyagatare District are optimistic after receiving six farm tractors worth about Frw174 million to modernize their activities.
Muvumba Perimetre Eight (P8) rice growers cooperative, grouping 1085 farmers, say the new farm machinery will ease operations and boost production. The cooperative members grow rice on 1050ha.
John Mujyarugamba, the president of Muvumba P8 rice growers cooperative, said that the farm machinery provided them with a sigh of relief because they used to finish ploughing their farm plots a bit late due to using hoe and lack of manpower, adding that it was also costly for members.
“Those who could not hire tractors from other cooperatives used hoes, which is tedious and time-consuming,” he said.
Mujyarugamba added that with mechanisation, farmers will be able to transition from subsistence farming to commercial-oriented agriculture and hence support economic development.
“One of the major factors that hinder the development of the agriculture sector is the use of traditional farm equipment. It is, therefore, imperative that farmers embrace modern technologies to increase yield and quality along value chain,” he added.
Productivity in the Muvumba P8 marshland is currently around five tonnes of rice per hectare, but farmers in the marshland are optimistic that the productivity will be increased to seven tonnes, thanks to “time efficiency and deep tilling of the tractors.”
Fulgence Nsengiyumva, the Minister of State for Agriculture, said that promoting agriculture mechanization is in line with the government's efforts to transform Rwanda's agriculture sector and increase productivity. The Minister of State added that mechanization is essential to increase agriculture production, ensure food security as well as boost farmers’ household income.
Over the last few years, the government has been making great efforts to increase the use of farm machinery including tractors, power tillers, rice transplanters and combine harvesters in a bid to meet the national target of 25% of farm operations intended to be mechanized by 2017 from 3% in 2009.
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