Francis Lauds Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence

Francis Mugaba owns a company that engaged in sweet pepper farming

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in cooperation with MASHAV - the Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation established an agricultural center dubbed ‘Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence’ to streamline Rwanda’s horticulture industry at Mulindi.

The center is based on the Indo-Israel model of “Centers of Excellence in Agriculture,’’ and includes transfer of knowledge; capacity building and demonstration; agro-inputs (nurseries for better seedlings and varieties) and fresh produce.

It displays a wide range of technologies for horticulture productions, and is made available for applied research and development, training and exhibition.

The Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence puts special emphasis on building local capacities in agriculture and agricultural entrepreneurship, and conduct applied agriculture in order to adapt the Israeli agricultural experience, technologies and innovations to local needs, serving all stakeholders in the horticultural sector, from small-holders to large commercial farmers.  

The initiative aims also to promote an efficient extension service in order to ensure an appropriate level of innovation and training for industry stakeholders, to provide specialized assistance and also to support applied research for local solutions.

Francis Mugaba, a founder of Nzoziland LTD- a company engaged in sweet pepper farming in the greenhouse, said that trainings that he acquired from the center helped him fine-tune greenhouse farming up to the level of Israeli agricultural technology.

‘’Before being trained by the Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence, I had no idea about greenhouse farming techniques. They trained me on how to cultivate in the greenhouse, nurseries handling in formality of Israel-made technology among others. I really appreciate the center because they gave me the base of my business."-He said.

Alain Twirimgiyimana, the Farmer Manager at Nzoziland LTD, emphasized that the produce, that they harvested earlier, have demonstrated high standards and quality needed on the market.

“Compared to the harvest I harvested in the past few days to the open field sweet pepper yield; these Israel-made varieties demonstrated a difference. In the past, we used to face loss due to the poor quality of produce, but the one we are harvesting shows the difference in beauty, size, weight and the quality needed on the market.”-He said.

Since September 2017, about 17 different species of vegetables made of 56 different varieties of vegetables were tested for adaptability to Rwandan conditions; for adaptability trials in various country’s agro-ecological zones, different RAB (Rubona, Muhanga, Nyagatare, Musanze and Rubilizi (Musenyi site) stations were provided with 180 fruit seedlings in that regard.

Concerning the capacity building: training and demonstration to beneficiaries; 45 researchers, 143 extension agents (including agriculturists from government institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private companies); 1,130 students and 4,115 farmers were received during the visits and reached through continuous non-formal education on modern horticulture production techniques.

About 2,884 seedlings were transplanted since the end of October 2019 in the HCoE mother garden covering about 4 Ha especially for scions’ production and since September 2020 first grafted fruit seedlings started being sold to various Rwandan farmers whereby about 15,259 fruit seedlings were sold out of 22,259 grafted fruit seedlings.