A short chat with Emmanuel Ndayizigiye would probably convince you that understanding on farming business is taking higher level among Rwandan young people. Ndayizeye, one of Rwandan students who recently completed his year-long internship on horticulture development in Israel, has already set ambitious goals to start his own farming business rather than spending his time hunting jobs.
Ndayizigiye might be one of few Rwandan young graduates who have already discovered that farming can be a more lucrative business than struggling to get a ‘white color job’ that has been a common understanding for many years.
When I recently paid a visit to Northern Province in Musanze, the young graduate was in farm, seemingly keen to apply acquired skills to boost fruits and vegetables production in the farm. One of the new practices he was practicing includes seed sowing of indeterminate varieties of tomatoes in cocopeat.
Cocopeat is the material which remains after the fibers are removed from coconut shells. Cocopeat is a totally organic material and does not undergo any treatment. It could be utilized by gardeners for a number of different herb types and indoor methods.
The young man is also motivated to showcase new practices so that he may gain attention of local farmers who will probably become his clients once they discover huge benefits of the practices.
In fact, I would not be mistaken to say that it’s rare to come across with a young educated person in Rwanda deciding to embrace farming unless it’s the last option.
When asked about his motivation, the young horticulturalist told me that he has been much inspired by experience he got from Israel.
“It really seems that we are doing almost nothing here,” he told me. “How can a country like Israel manage to become a major exporter of fresh produce while its geography is not naturally conducive to agriculture: most of its land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor farming.”
Ndayizigiye has a point in a sense that many African countries have been facing shortage of food while they have all it takes – fertile soil, favorable climate conditions and workforce – likely to help in producing plentiful food.
I do believe that once many of Ndayizigiye’s fellows adopt the same approach, it would surely impact on Rwanda’s agricultural transformation; in sense that they will even bring best agricultural practices to farming that has been dominated for a long time by people who have always been practicing subsistence farming.