Farmers have been urged to learn technological farming practices from Chinese experts in order to boost their productivity and improve their livelihoods.
The call was made on Wednesday during a day-long field visit at the China-Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Centre (C-RATDC) in Rubona, Huye District.
The centre, run by Chinese agriculture experts through a bilateral cooperation between the governments of Rwanda and China, aims at enhancing food security and boosting farmers’ income through advanced technologies.
The centre, which opened three years ago, specialises in paddy and upland rice, mushroom, silk farming and soil and water conservation.
Since its establishment, the centre has been training farmers mainly through onfield practical sessions, conducting research on soil adaptability and high yielding crop varieties, building farmers’ capacity and demonstrating new farming, water and soil conservation methods.
Figures show that farmers have been registering more production since the establishment of the centre, thanks to the newly acquired skills.
Rice production, for instance, increased from 3.5 tonnes per hectare to 6.5 tonnes per hectare thanks to the initiative, Lin Yingxing, the centre’s Director said.
Simple methods such as using a combination of high quality seeds, proper timing for planting and applying fertilisers at the right time, among others, is important to improve productivity, the expert said.
New techniques, such as the juncao mushroom technology, have also helped farmers improve their production, he added.
Speaking during the tour, the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Gerardine Mukeshimana, urged farmers to learn from the Chinese experts in order to ensure transfer of knowledge and good practices which will lead to an increase in production.
She said adopting the technologies will help farmers diversify their crops, increase productivity, improve nutrition and household income.
“Let us make effort to adopt these technologies to improve our production and transform our lives,” she said.
The Chinese ambassador to Rwanda, Shen Yongxiang, said his government decided to support agricultural development in the country because of the significant contribution of agriculture toward the lives of citizens and its contribution to national development.
“Agriculture occupies an important place both in Rwanda and China and with this centre, we hope to transfer technologies that will help increase production,” Yongxiang said.
Culled From: The Rwanda New Times …..Story by Jean-Pierre Bucyensenge