Rwanda’s Farmer Field School programme gets Global recognition

Farmers in Ruryarya, Rwamagana District till their land. (Timothy Kisambira)

Rwanda’s Farmer Field School (FFS) programme has been recognized by the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for exercising best agriculture practices.

The programme emerged among the top 10 best agriculture programmes worldwide, according to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) competition organisers in Paris France.

The competition was organised under the theme “Taking Development Innovation to Scale” with the aim of enhancing innovation and strengthening farmer’s capacity to increase production.

The FFS programme, according to Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, is designed to boost farmers’ skills and to encourage innovation to increase productivity.

The government, with support of the Belgian Development Agency, introduced this tailored version of the Farmer Field School (FFS) in 2009 to facilitate farmers with modern farming skills.

Experts say the programme is an effective and efficient decentralised way to help and improve service delivery to farmers at grass roots level.

Jean Baptiste Mutangana, said many farmers have accessed improved seeds and other farm inputs resulting into high yields through the programme.

There are more than 3900 farm field groups serving more than 100,000 farmers across the country.

Another 2,200 new farm groups have been created under government’s programme of Twigire Muhinzi.

About 2,500 agronomists and field facilitators are being integrated into Twigire Muhinzi programme.

Twigire Muhinzi is a village-based agriculture extension model, where farmers access services and inputs within their locality.

Last year, Rwanda’s government launched a nationwide campaign to promote agriculture mechanisation to improve the sector’s performance.

The idea was to raise awareness on use of farm machinery to increase production and enhance quality along the value chain.

Agriculture employs more than 76 per cent of the population and is one of largest contributors to the country’s GDP contributing more than 31 per cent annually.

Source: The New Times

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