PM calls for demand-driven research to boost growth

|   RAB News

HUYE–Agriculture research centres should contribute towards addressing the community’s needs and help farmers increase productivity to lift themselves out of poverty, Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has said.

The centre is a joint initiative by the Government of Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China

He was speaking yesterday during the official opening of the Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Centre (RATDC) in Rubona, Huye District.

The centre is a joint initiative by the Government of Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China.

It is expected to provide advanced and applicable up-to-date technology to enhance food security, increase income for farmers and promote better environment-friendly methods of farming.

During the visit, the Premier also toured the Rubona agriculture research facility operated by Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

Habumuremyi called for agriculture and food experts to carry out research that meets the needs of the local population.

“Research work should help farmers shift from the traditional way of farming towards the adoption of modern technologies in agriculture,” PM Habumuremyi said.

He challenged researchers to always make their findings public so as to enhance the agriculture sector.

The premier urged them to teach farmers how to use new farming techniques, emphasising the need for collaboration between researchers and the population.

“The next time I come here, I will ask every one of you how many households you helped improve the way they practice farming,” he said.

He appealed to local leaders to make every effort in order to help rural communities adopt a positive change in their behaviours and ways of doing things.

The premier thanked the Chinese government for supporting Rwandan farmers in the quest for better living conditions, calling on farmers to make use of the new centre for their benefit.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador, Shu Zhan, noted that sharing knowledge, know-how and technologies in the agricultural sector would help create favourable conditions for a sustainable development.

“This Centre was built with the aim of helping farmers acquire skills and new practices to increase their productivity, and I hope it will play that role,” Zhan said.

The Centre works on four specialties including paddy and upland rice, mushroom, sericulture and soil and water conservation.

Construction activities kicked off in 2009 and were completed last year in April.

Since then, pilot experiments and trial operations have been taking place, including adaptability research, production, training and demonstration.

Statistics from the centre indicate that up to date, 397 farmers have attended courses on paddy and upland rice cultivation and mushroom growing, among others.

Martha Bakayihinda, one of the beneficiaries, said: “We have realized that if farmers are approached and given opportunities to embrace new practices and technologies, it would be much easier to improve our social welfare”.