Adam Rwirahira has spent his life growing rice. His father, Peter, is considered a rice guru and has been in the business for 30 years. He currently farms close to ten hectares but his son wanted to do more.
Before he joined Save village rice farmers association in Gisagara district, Rwirahira and his family of four were living in a grass-thatched house. In that life, his main challenge was getting a daily home income to buy household items like soap and salt.
Putting food on the table for his family was also a challenge as he would first go to offer labour in people’s gardens to make some money.
As fate would have it, one day Rwanda Agricultural board (RAB) introduced access improved seeds in his sector which increased acreage and production.
Rice is one of the main staple foods in Rwanda and has been identified as a priority crop by government.
Farmers from Save and Kibirizi sectors reveals that yields were very low when they were growing sweet potatoes and maize, saying that they only got enough for consumption but remained poor.
Vincent Rutebuka, another rice farmer in Kibirizi sector said: “I have three rice fields in this marshland but never harvested crops worth Rwf20, 000 before. However, this time the story is different.
Through the association, we can do collective marketing and as a bulking of farmer’s produce for value addition and also collective bargaining for better prices.
“We fix prices for farmer produce and collect marketing information because some farmer’s don’t know how to market their produce,” Rutebuka points out.