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The Inzonzi Nziza Project, implemented in Rwanda, has introduced new crops to farmers such as kales, high yielding and pest resistant onions and orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties and Amaranth.
The project targets not only improve household income by 150% among the targeted communities by 2017, but also improve their health. Farm Concern International (FCI) conducted a Farmer Organization and Cooperatives Assessment survey on 17 farmers’ groups/cooperatives in the three ADPs of Nyaruguru, Mudasomwa and Nyamagabe. The survey revealed that nutrition dense crops such as vegetables were not popular among the smallholder farmers, see figure 1 below.
Among the farmer groups interviewed, maize and Irish potatoes were the most preferred value chains with 71% of respondents indicating production of these crops, followed by Cabbages at 35%, Beans and Wheat at 29% and Carrots at 24%. Mushrooms, African Traditional Vegetables (ATV), Butter, Goats, Cassava, Tree tomato, Garlic and Animal husbandry indicated 6% each and were the least traded value chains. However, the more lesser value chains in the region were tomatoes, wheat, goat rearing, cassava, egg plants and tree tomato all indicating an average rate of 6% production and below.
Research shows that, when crops are repeatedly planted in an area for a long time, they become susceptible to pests and diseases. The soils also get depleted of nutrients and become less productive. This has been the case in the areas where Inzozi Nziza project is implemented, where farmers have majorly planted maize. However, with the introduction of this project which encourages crop rotation, it is expected that the families will have improved health and reduced malnutrition rate among the smallholder farmers.
FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.