Nyiransengimana Beatrice, who started farming on a small scale with a group of other farmers, is currently a model Orange-fleshed sweetpotato(OFSP) farmer and has further moved into poultry farming determined to make it a success. Beatrice, a successful Decentralized Vine Multiplier (DVM) in Gakenke district under Scaling up Sweet Potato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN), a project of International Potato Center (CIP) that is funded by the UKaid shares her story. “Since the start of this project on food security, I have gained several breakthroughs which have changed my mindset completely. Cultivation of drought resistant crops has benefited me immensely. This has brought joy and delight in my household.
Beatrice started OFSP farming as the year 2015 ended with 150 square meters of land that she used for rapid OFSP vine multiplication. From the few harvested vines, she was able to make some money that boosted her to look for more land for expansion. She currently has a hectare of land that she uses for multiplication of vines. From her one hectare farm in Gakenke village, Beatrice made close to 5,000 dollars from the sale of OFSP vines which she planted in January 2017.
Today, she is one of the renowned poultry farmers in Gakenke. Her home, which is strategically located on the Gakenke-Musanze highway, is a one-stop-center where people buy eggs. When her husband could no longer sustain their family because of a loan they had got from the bank to build their house, she had to figure out how to make more money, and that is how she got an idea to start the poultry business with the money she collects from OFSP vine sales. She bought 200 chickens with 500 dollars from which she gets 160 eggs per day, and makes a profit of 15 dollars a day. She also gets 10 bags of manure which fetches 50 dollars per bag at the market and she also uses some of the manure for her farms. “Farming life is stressful without manure. It is expensive and if you don’t use the manure, results are not as good” the OFSP farmer recounted.
At her home, one is surprised with the fruits of the Vitamin A rich Orange fleshed sweetpotatoes. They have finally paid back the loan and she has also put up a structure that is well aired to ensure that her chickens enjoy living in it. In a twist of fate, there was a chickenpox outbreak in October 2016 that lasted for 5 months, which made her sell almost all of the hens and ended up owning two hybrid cows. These cows have also been a source of manure ever since!
Beatrice enjoys her dignity as a woman who does not ask for everything from the husband. She takes care of the home necessities, pays for school fees for their children allowing her husband to cater for his own school tuition. She laughs as she mentions how there are times that she pays for his transport to school. “I am a proud mother and wife, all this through OFSP vine multiplication. I’m a proud farmer and it’s with confidence that I share how it has transformed my life.”
In her village, she is considered a role model since she is one of the few women who have succeeded in lift temselves from poverty, using Orange Fleshed Sweetpotatoes. Her determination and success with OFSP farming has earned her other responsibilities where she is currently an agro promoter for IMBARAGA farmer organization in Gakenke district where she trains two sectors of Gakenke and Muhondo good agricultural practices on a daily basis. She has been invited to train different farmers, especially women, on how to make different OFSP products like mandazi and cakes which she says has changed the status of women in her community.
Focusing her dreams on further development, she says that nothing is impossible with courage and determination. She hopes to get to a point of having more than a thousand chicks and of course without forgetting her pride, OFSP vines!
She lauds the project saying, “My lifestyle has changed drastically. Such initiatives can help in reducing poverty, eliminating family and gender based violence, and eradicating malnutrition in our families. Indeed, improved health and living standards”.