Nduwayezu Anastase, a member of Rwanda Youth Forum in Agriculture (RYAF) is helping Farmers in Nyagatare District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda to modernize their agriculture practices in order to remain at the forefront of producing enough agricultural outputs for family food and market.
Nduwayezu is among the young graduates deployed by RYAF in various part of the country to help farmers to practice modern farming as part of the Government of Rwanda efforts in ending hunger among communities.
This young Agripreneur was deployed in “Cooperative des Agriculteurs de Maïs de Nyakagarama” (COAMN) which is located in Kabusunzu village, Nyakagarama cell, Rukomo sector, Nyagatare district, in Eastern province.
The cooperative has 27 members among them 16 are women.
It grows two main crops including maize and beans, where maize are mainly planted in season A with the rotation of beans in season B yearly.
Nduwayezu says “When I was deployed at the Cooperative, the later has been struggling with the low performance and had other problems which include the administration disorder in the cooperative.”
“The first thing I did is to join together all cooperative committees to solve some of internal problems and mismanagement of the cooperative,” He adds.
When RYAF deploys young agriculture graduates in various part of the country, the youth umbrella urges them to provide advisory ideas to farmers Cooperatives and to ensure that the agriculture outputs are well managed while at the same time helping farmers to get market for their harvests.
“Really, at the beginning it was very hard to bring them together and have the same focus. I improved the partnership between I and cooperative leaders to ensure the good progress of this cooperative.” Nduwayezu said.
For Nduwayezu, being a Cooperative Support officer is not an easy task.
“In most of farmer cooperatives around the country, there are challenges like Mismanagement of cooperative due to the unskilled and selfishness of their leaders (Nepotism), there is also problems of Aflatoxins which destroyed their maize produce and lack postharvest facilities.” He narrated
In the Eastern Province where Nduwayezu was deployed there were also challenges of misuse of cooperative resources by some of cooperative leaders, Absence of youth involvement in agriculture.
“About 99% of all members of cooperative are adult of more than 55 ages. “ He said
The Eastern Zone of Rwanda is characterized by drought due to long dry season, impacts of climate change, fall army worm which sometime attack maize crop among many others
However, Nduwayezu said “I hope the assistance we provided will help them to tackle all of those issues in addition to the Government supports always provided to farmers when they are facing difficult obstacles.”
The RYAF under the close collaboration with the Post-Harvest Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) project has been assigned to be responsible for supporting cooperatives in various value chains.
“The cooperative leaders are proud and thanking RYAF so much for their privilege support they provided to them through the Cooperative support officer and the interns usually help them in their productive daily life,” He noted.
To me, Nduwayezu says “I am deeply indebted to Mr. Jean Baptist HATEGEKIMANA and all RYAF team for their first step to make me who I am precisely in cooperative management and GAP in maize production respectively.”
RYAF is a registered national forum mandated to change the current perception youth among the youths vis-à-vis the agriculture sector in Rwanda, while orienting them to seize business and investment opportunities in the sector through awareness creation, skills development, advocacy and support services.
To date RYAF has 4,300 members grouped in 5 Clusters and work in Five Provinces of Rwanda.