In the South-Eastern tip of Rwanda, Amina Munyana lives with her family in the village Samuko. She and her husband Niyonsenga Ramadhan have three boys and three girls of their own, and have also adopted another three orphaned boys. To feed the family, they grow rice, maize and beans on two hectares of land and keep a cow. Thanks to hard work and support from their farmers’ organisation “Indakemwa”, they have been able to triple their production on these fields over the past four years – and started to look for a market to sell to.
Amina says that P4P helped her to gain confidence in her abilities as a farmer: “Before P4P, we would grow our crops but we were never sure if there would be any market. Since WFP moved in, we are sure that no matter how much we produce, we can sell. This gives us hope for the future to increase our production bit by bit. Instead of us seeking hopelessly for markets, P4P brought the market to us.”
According to Amina and her husband, the biggest improvement for them has been the training provided by WFP and PAPSTA on post-harvest handling. Amina learned a technique of drying the maize by bundling and hanging them on wooden racks. “Before we would lose 500 kg, during and after harvest, now this has reduced to about 100 kg!”
Last year Amina sold maize and beans to WFP. This year, she will sell her maize to the Rwandan Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) and also has 700 kg of beans in the cooperative store at the moment, which she plans to sell to WFP. Prices paid by WFP have been good so far.
“Last year we could have sold our beans to local traders for 280 RwF (0.5USD)/kg, but after we cleaned and stored it collectively, WFP agreed to pay 320 RwF (0.6USD)/kg to the cooperative, of which 310 ended in our pocket.” The remaining 10 Rwf stay with the cooperative as fees for the aggregation and storage.
Amina is confident that even if WFP stops buying from the Indakemwa cooperative, they will still be able to find a market. “In our cooperative business plan we already planned to sell to markets beyond WFP, by approaching schools, prisons and traders.”
Amina’s eyes start twinkling when she speaks about the cooperative and how things are moving forward in their community. “With every agricultural season our lives improve. We have a sure market now and are less and less poor”.
She feels the most significant change in her life is that she was able to send one of her children to a private secondary school costing 98.000 RwF (175 USD) per term. “We invested the money we got from selling our maize and beans in our agricultural plot and in the education of our children. Some people keep their children out of school to work, but we value education very much.”
“Our dream is to extend our farm, to keep poultry and have a fish pond,” concludes Amina. “In agriculture you do not double your production just like that, but each harvest you gradually increase, and we hope one day we will be able to fulfil this dream. We hope.”