By Norbert Iraboneye
Norbert is Rwandan nationality and was supported by TAGDEV-Egerton program through RUFORUM and MasterCard foundation for his master’s study. He completed Master degree in agronomy program/2020 from Egerton University/Kenya. His agricultural research project was based on the improvement of potato production using none-soil acidifying compound fertilizer and canola green manure for soil fertility and potato bacterial wilt management in Nakuru county/Kenya.
Through different agricultural skills got in class and experimental research project findings, he looked back in his country the area for improvement and he come up with a proposal to contribute the improvement of potato production in Rwanda. Potato is one of the top food crops in Rwanda generating income to many farmers and the country in general. It is grown by round 70,000 farmers, with total annual production of 6,000,000 tonnes, yet the production per hectare 7-9t/ha is far below the potential of 30-45t/ha (FOSTAT, 2021). Less information on good agricultural practices and insufficient clean seed potatoes being the major cause of low production. Rwanda is a country with high growing population and with small area compared to other in the East African countries, hence a need to improve agricultural production to feed increasing population.
Through RUFORUM-FAPA program, Norbert was awarded a financial support to disseminate new agricultural skills got from Kenya to the famers in his home country to improve agriculture production. The project was implemented in Nyabihu district/ Northern Province in collaboration with Rwanda agricultural Board/ Musanze station. The main objectives of the project were to contribute in the improvement of potato production through learning and exchanging agricultural skills with farmers, familiazing with working environment as well exploring potential area for business. Norbert used famer field school approach (FFS) to disseminate good agricultural practices (GAP) to the farmers, where a demonstration field for learning was set with the farmer group leaders in Nyabihu district/ Jenda sector. All agricultural practices were done with farmer group leaders as they go to implement them in their farms and training their respective famers they are leading in different location.