RDF Leads Campaign to Grow Sweet Potatoes

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RDF launches Army Week-2017 activities to uplift social-welfare of Rwandans.

The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has taken a big commitment to counter food insecurity which is threatening to hit several communities in Rwanda following a disease that affected essential crops recently.

On May 4, RDF started its annual national outreach campaign, the Army Week that will last for two months covering 8 activities that improve community health and well being.

The army week kicked off two weeks after army worms, a pest that surprisingly attacked hundreds hectares of maize and sorghum, alerting farmers of a possible poor harvest.

A specific commitment to counter this anticipated shortage is on agenda of RDF, and among solutions is to grow sweet potatoes at every free space.

“As part of army week, RDF will help the community grow sweet potatoes on many vacant arable lands across the country,” Jean Claude Kayisinga, Permenant Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture told Rwanda Eye.

“It’s not just to counter the effects of army worms, but our general resolve to make sure that there is no food shortage in the country.”

More than 2100 hectares of vacant arable land appropriate for sweet  potatoes growing, with the southern province contributing 844 hectares, the biggest share and city of Kigali, 18 hectares, the smallest share.

Barely ten days after the launch of army week, RDF has planted 42.8 hectares.

A part from sweet potatoes, RDF will contribute to growing other plants, to ensure total food security in the country.

At the start of army week, May 4, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Patrick Nyamvumba joined RDF members and the community to prepare the 17 hectare Umushumba Mwiza marshland, located in Kanombe Sector, Kicukiro district for vegetable growing.

“We have been doing this for the past years, and we pledge continue partnering with community members to ensure rapid community development,” Gen Nyamvumba said then.

Gen Nyamvumba added, “This is also part of the continuous liberation journey. Of course, we ended the biggest liberation struggle but the journey to withstand what we struggled for, as well as build self-reliance continues. Therefore, we shall continue having such community-based activities.”

Health services have been another icon of the army week, whereby medical teams treat patients whose illness had become part of their lives.

And this year, medical teams will experience more cases as they are supposed to reach out to every hospital of the country, compared to previous years when it was a matter of one site.

“I am very thankful to RDF for having taken away my enemy –the tooth – it was really painful at a point that I could not sleep. I cannot thank RDF enough,” said an old woman from Bweyeye Sector, Rusizi district yesterday.

At Bweyeye, an unusual case of big thyroid nodule was registered and operated among several other cases.

RDF medical teams move from a hospital to another. From the remote Bweyeye sector, they crossed to Ijwi Island.

From May 4-11, RDF consulted and operated and treated 14,340 patients, and operated 432 cases on top voluntary testing activities, male circumcision among others.

The Army Week will run between May 4th through July 4th – a date corresponding with Liberation Day – RDF, its partners – mainly government institutions and local communities will meet at designated venues across the country to conduct eight vital activities; health, rehabilitation of 18 bridges and 1 feeder road and water access point/ facilities, farming to mention but a few.











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