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Rwanda: cooperatives as pillars of food security

Rwanda: cooperatives as pillars of food security

Most of the associations operating in Rwanda have played a very important role in the area of ​​food security. Thanks to the financial support from the State, the local and international NGOs, they practiced the breeding of small cattle which also allowed an innovation of the agriculture thanks to the traditional English thus improving the well being of the population in general 

According to globalization, the world has become a global village not only thanks to the innovation of information and communication technology, but also thanks to the support of the population in the various associations and cooperation that create an income-generating activity whose common interests are shared equitably. 

Food security is a global concern because many people in different parts of the world are suffering from famine. Although it is a concept that encompasses many notions, we must understand that it is a battle, a battle on horseback that requires a deployment of all our energies, that do not allow us to lower our weapons and keep hope.  

Nobody can ignore that food insecurity causes a lot of damage; the most daunting is the disaster caused by famine but also the malnutrition that causes disease. It should be noted that the countries of the Middle East: Syria, Yemen, Iraq in other words countries that are at war are overwhelmed by famine.  

But we must not forget also that the countries of the Horn of Africa are extremely hungry and others are threatened with famine: South Sudan, Somalia and Burundi. Children are the most vulnerable because children under 5 who cannot easily find treatment because they have no means or just because the corridors for humanitarian aid are not open; This is the case of Central Africa, Somalia, Syria or other countries at war.  

According to the WHO in 2017; 16 million children were diagnosed with chronic diseases and 3 million deaths are reported each year. And according to the same WHO sources, less than 20% of these children have chronic diseases and all children under 5 years old are exposed to chronic diseases have access to treatment. Often the treatment is not so easy because it takes perimeters of the mouth, to see the color of the skin, to see the weight and the size. The treatment is not so less: For the severe complication, you need at least one food package 500 g of milk powder.

Another thing that complicates the situation is the fact that we are seeing antibiotic resistance or 80% of children do not have access to treatment. Of these 300 million, ¼ of the children are undernourished. Many studies show that the toque famine on the locality of the different corners of the world and the alarm bells do not stop ringing. Cases of good illustration is the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Kassai, following the endless war more than 400 thousand children risk to perish of hunger if nothing is done according to UNICEF. 

The Burkina Faso Minister, Jacob Ouedrago, says that the state will release 87 billion francs CEFA to deal with this disaster. Agriculture is a job that feeds over 80% of the population; They are not difficult to meet and have almost no solutions. Among these challenges, we must point out the various pests that ravage plants, the lack of knowledge in agronomy and the structure of  the relief. 

The parasites that rage 

The armyworm is not as disastrous as the other 22 insects can attack an ear of corn in many ways. In Gasaka, one of the southeastern sectors of Rwanda, the fight has become a concern because even security agents are involved in this fight. Here in this section, when we talk about pests that ravage plants, other diseases are not spared, especially the mosaic that ravages cassava in the Ngororero district, while cassava grows well and is one of the staple foods. Food crop that feeds millions of people, especially in Africa.

According to a French proverb, misfortunes never come alone; because those same plants that are attacked are those that constitute the basis of food crops.In other localities, wild lice are difficult to eradicate, in the district of Gakenke more precisely in the area of  ​​Kivuruga, wild lice attack trees that if once the drugs are used, the sprayed drugs can damage plants and decrease soil fertility. 

An agriculture that is not modern 

Other people have no advanced knowledge to practice modern agriculture that can be productive. We are in Gisozi in the forum of the research institute on dialogue and peace. Here is a workshop on the pre-validation of a study done on citizen satisfaction on the program of the intensification of semen. In this workshop, several actors and agricultural researchers discuss the problems that hinder agriculture in general and the selection of good seeds in particular.  According to Venuste Bizimana, who was part of the research team, several indicators need to be analyzed because the more people increase; the more agriculture needs to be developed.

According to Professor Pierre R.Rwanyindo, several efforts must be made, but having a good seed, is the basis of a good harvest and an evolution of modern agriculture in general. This is why the centers that select and distribute the seeds for the people must work with courage. From the moment when we have 10% selection center in the pilot districts of this study.

 Let's be competitive  

According to Gafaranga Joseph, one of the farmers in Musanze District, farmers need to be competitive using the different techniques and merging the land in order to increase yields. '' When we merge our lands we have 50t, 100t or even 300 tons whereas a person who cultivates alone can only   gain 500 kilos after a small area. He stressed. According to Gafaranga, the merged earth must undergo a lot of study via RAB (Rwanda Agriculture Board), MINAGRI, the population and the authorities. For him What is very important is not the merging of land, but the increase of yield on a small area that is cultivated. Farmers who have merged the land may have 2.5 tons  maize per hectare with selected seed and 5 t to 8 t for hybrids. According to the testimonials of experienced growers, mixing chemical and traditional fertilizer, following the instructions of Minagri is the secret of being competitive and having a better yield that can yield 22 tonnes per hectare. Most of the farmers who have merged their land are very satisfied because practicing a monoculture allows the increase of harvest which favor the living conditions in their families because the parents manage to pay the school fees their children and find food to eat easily. According to Professor Pierre R.Rwanyindo, who represented the IRDP, Rwandans must develop the agricultural sector. "All developed countries have first strengthened agriculture and livestock, so agriculture is a global economic pillar," he said.This study was done in the 10 districts and 20 sectors with a number of 1,500 farmers interviewed. 

The relief structure, another challenge for agriculture 

Apart from the fact that the autumn caterpillar requires a fierce fight, the geographical structure of Rwanda requires a strategy that is not less: It must be understood that Rwanda is a country of a thousand hills without forgetting the heavy rain that destroys crops on the ground. Foot of mountain. Because rains cause erosion and destroy terraces, farmers always fall into poverty.

In Rwanda, it is necessary that the farmers are equipped with very advanced techniques, to know the technique of exploitation of soil following its relief; know how to recover rainwater; better practice the irrigation of   terraced crops, namely the development of value chains. This is why the state is obliged to inject several millions in the agricultural sector.

The structure of the relief force that people exploit the terrace that is why the government of Rwanda adopted a specific policy for the exploitation of these terraces. In the sector of Kabaya located in the district of Ngororero, the State has created employs it by paying young men and widows who exploit these terraces. In Nyabihu District, a Kenyan association with a lot of experience in exploiting the terraces came to teach this talent to other farmers in the area. During the first 5 months of this year (2018), the rain causes a lot of material and human damage in the districts of Ngororero, Gatsibo, Rulindo and Gakenke. All this causes a major impact on agriculture.

A farmer in Birembo met in the sector of Rambura gives the impact of this climatic disaster of this rain. "We have cooperative teams by zone and we have 43 teams; each team is composed of 30 people and in the normal condition of the climate, we can harvest 22 tons / groups with the calamities we can have just 5 tons ", he stressed. “We consume the harvest directly while part of the harvest could help us buy our seeds and the chemical fertilizer”, he added. 

Attacked maize, an undersupplied diet 

Maize is one of the most widely consumed cereals in the world because it can be eaten under several dishes. But you must also understand that corn is one of the cereals that contains a lot of nutrients: Popcorn is rich in protein, iron, calcium and fiber, and is a great snack. It should also be added that corn is a source of several essential vitamins and minerals: VB1 for production of energy, VB2 for metabolism and VB3 for DNA formation. Certain blues and purples provide anthocyanins, pigments with antioxidant properties. Its derivatives: semolina, oil, bran, cornstarch and corn syrup that can be transformed into a multitude of foods, from breakfast to desert.

These elements are very important for our health: the antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells of the body, damages caused by the rafts free. corn has resulted in a decrease in blood LDL cholesterol that says this armyworm is the cause of a balanced diet. In this second section, we will confine ourselves to the different ways in which the population has gone out to fight famine, malnutrition and other problems related to food security. Most of them have preferred small livestock breeding because they multiply a lot and quickly.

The case we are going to develop is the project of young people who got together and make the different cooperatives that aim to practice raising small livestock consisting of rabbits, pork and goats. They have developed a system of sharing babies of these different species. Thanks to the various initiatives of the State and the international institutions that finance the various associations especially vulnerable people, widows, survivors of genocide, the disabled and take advantage of these livestock which offers several advantages even in agriculture because they manage to find traditional fertilizer and buy other food.

One of the localities we visited is the Nyamasheke District specifically in the Kagano area, here thanks to an association of Peace Volunteers (AVP) that makes the reconciliation between survivors of the 1994 Tutsi genocide and their executioners. The latter, grouping themselves in the different groups, they benefited from the help and were able to practice raising small livestock and they managed to feed thanks to this activity because even their agriculture could a boom in yield thanks to  the traditional English of these cattle. Mr. Nzakama Leopold is from the Ninzi cellule of Kagano:

"Thanks to the training of the AVP and his help, we raised pigs in a group Icyerekezo, thanks to the production, we have piglets and we bought the males that allowed the mating of the other pigs in the Kagano, Rwesero”, he said.  '' Thanks to this breeding I manage to pay the school fees, and at home we manage to eat all the seeds; we invite other people to join us and teach them how to practice breeding. '' he added .Mukarurwiza Margueritte is also a member of AVP:

'' I live in Mutuza; I thank avp because he changed the good morals after the genocide I was traumatized because I could not even share with the executioners, I could not even sit down with them but with the avp, we had a reconciliation and thanks to the livestock offered by AVP, we were able to eat beans, vegetables and, of course, comfort in our families because we bought mattresses. Hillary Nyirahabimana lives in Ninzi's cell. "I thank you AVP, because you gave me the goat and my children manage to study and I earn money," she said.

Our similar case is found in Nyabihu district where the group of people playing the sit shot was able to benefit from the help that allowed them to practice pig breeding which favored the creation of other income-generating activities like men's hair salons. If we stay in this same section, let us talk about rabbit breeding, considered as a micro-project that has been considered one of the means that will be very effective in the fight against malnutrition.

The project is imagined by one of the young people of the city of Kigali who prizes the initiative to practice the breeding. With his exceptional courage he took a long enough time to learn about rabbit breeding. took a lot of courage, because I downloaded a 6,000-page book to deepen the knowledge of this breed, you understand that I had to use my machine at home and my cell phone when I'm on the bus. He stressed.

This boy took the initiative to train other young people about this breeding. After having found the authorization of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock attesting to his knowledge, this young boy already practices modern breeding of rabbits.These young people have in turn unit others by teaching them breeding rabbits that require a baggage high enough to have a good return.

For him everything is calculated, it is necessary to choose the breeds suitable either to the local breeding and breeding for the trade, then it is necessary to have a notion for the construction, to know the psychology and the genetics of the rabbits, to know the nutrition, the physiological evolution. According to this young boy, raising rabbits also plays a very important role in the agricultural sector because his urine is an effective manure especially for vegetable farming.

In this project, these young people intend to raise the rabbits to the number of 3000 that they will be able to distribute to the population in the district of Muhanga. Thanks to the help of Minagri, these young people have been able to benefit from a construction site located in the district of Muhanga.

The breeding of rabbits requires knowledge: 

a) Construction

We must attract a lot of attention because the slightest mistake of construction causes a lot of damage especially when there is a predatory and if the mother sees a danger, she prefers to save the babies by eating them, we must master the children and their moms in regarding their behavior.

b) Breastfeeding

The condition of these children should be checked 3 times a day. The first week of breastfeeding, the milk is yellow.Why do not babies breastfeed?This is caused by several factors:* When babies are not born at the right time because the mother can give birth between 8 and 12 baby you understand that the last babies are born with a weakness.* The mother who is sick* Some viruses that clog the nipples and damage them by clogging them* The stupid rabbits, avoid their mating

C) Weakness 

Often caused by the branching of the umbel cord. Solution: Move babies to other breastfeeding mothers. When it's stupid, you have to force the mother to take her ears and paws and let the babies breastfeed

d) Nutrition

For babies, it takes a very rich nutrition and a sufficient quantity, it is necessary to renew the dairy when one makes a new supply

e) Mating

It is necessary to be careful for the sizes: it is necessary a rabbit with a simple size to make its own property and when it is of big size, the babies die in its belly, even if the babies manage to exist a small moment and that they die mom eat them because rabbits like cleanliness and security.Il also do not mate the skinny rabbits. You have to have a notion in genetics: master your biological lineage because if a rabbit calves several rabbits or if a rabbit knows how to educate the babies, know that his descendants will do the same thing. To better mate, we must move the female to the evil vice versa because the females are territorial. Mating timebetween 5-7 months but for commercial rabbits, it is necessary to mate at 7 months. After 5 minutes if the coupling has not taken place, the female must be put back in her place. It is not necessary that the evil couples 3 females in a week. You have to mate the female 3 times a day

f) The birth After two weeks of gestation, you have to increase the amount of food. It is necessary to build a box with a parallelipedic form of 35cm x 25 cm x 20 cm and to make the entry of 10 cm of height. The mother must be placed in the box on the 26th day of gestation. It is not necessary that the dairy is sharp because if the baby is injured, it can attract the predatory. The female regulates the temperature by throwing the hair in the box because it takes at least 30oc inside the box.Often the birth took place at night. Females must be put in a very secure place.

g) GrowthThe first day of birth no hearing or hearing and do not eat and have no hair. The vision took place around the 14th day and the hairs pushed the first week and the hearing on the tenth day and baby can eat at the 3rd week. To do the care, you must use an object to prevent the smell of your hands destabilizes the mother because if you are not used to the mom may consider you a predatory. It must protect babies from dirt because the contamination is done by urine and secrement.You  have to give something to eat in large quantities to the mother who put down. You have to discard the box after three weeks. The nails on hind legs help us to know the age.

h) WeaningThe weaning is done to a me especially for the rabbit intended for trade.According to a study conducted by the research institute of peace and dialogue in 10 districts and 20 sectors, the farmers salute the work of the various associations that allowed the evolution of agriculture. Dr. Kalambizi Venuste is the former president of the Peace Volunteers Association (AVP) and explains that his association finances certain activities such as small livestock breeding, apiculture and pineapple farming in Nyamasheke districts, Rutsiro, Bugesera ... According to a representative of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) responsible for the coordination of associations, the State makes a considerable effort because in 2017, 40 associations were financed and in 2018 45 associations that have a better competence were financed and their activities are very commendable, they contribute to the development of the country. 

Adronis  Mbazumutima




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Amasaha by Patricko Rwanda Novembre 2018