New project to propel greenhouse technology

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 A new greenhouse technology project dubbed Smart Adaptive Sustainable Horticulture (SMASH) has come into play to intensively be implemented with high technology use and appropriately designed greenhouses to ensure high productivity per square kilometer.

The project will run for four years and will be sponsored by the Netherlands government through its agriculture support programmes to Rwanda. The ministry of agriculture will sign the MoU with all partners in the project in June 2013 and the project will start to operate in November 2013.

The project comes at a time when greenhouse technology is slowly gaining recognition between different state and non state actors and its introduction is revolutionizing the agriculture sector in the country.

Rwanda Agriculture Board in collaboration with different actors is ensuring full technical support as well as offering essential services to the beneficiaries in promoting of this new technology.

The Ministry of Agriculture facilitates interested farmers to adopt greenhouse farming and farmers have been urged to embrace green house technology but there are few companies in Rwanda that provide this technology. Balton Rwanda is one of the sole suppliers of such technology (Amiran farmer’s Kit) in Rwanda.

However, the farmers who currently use the technology have managed to benefit from it and Innocent Ukizuru, an agricultural officer in charge of Rwamagana District, says that the technology had proved successful in some parts of the country.

Ukizuru also states that the technology works perfectly with horticultural crops such as tomatoes, carrots among others, and can produce good yields.

“Farmers shouldn’t shy away from the technology on the pretext that it is expensive. One green house which can be constructed at a cost of Rwf 1.5m produces double the amount per year when utilized properly,” he told farmers.

Theophile Kayigi, a tomato grower, admits that farmers’ traditional ways of growing crops had to change. He said farmers had to embrace the new technology to make profits in a competitive global market.

“The knowledge I gathered about farming, drove me to think that the majority of vegetable growers are using a lot of energy with minimum output,” the farmer said.

Another farmer Laurent Hakizimana has managed to build a mansion in Kigali city, raise his children in good schools and also invest more in the equipment and technology. Today, Hakizimana’s dreams are set on buying more kits (at least five)- to meet his market demand for tomatoes and purchasing a chicken incubator- which will increase the number of chicks in his farm to at least 10.000 chickens.

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Based in New York, Patrick is a Wall Street Broker and Financial Pundit. He works as a Foreign Consultant for Rwanda Eye. His insights on the current economic trends and its impact on Rwanda and Africa, makes him an invaluable asset to Rwanda Eye.

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