It is a shock that at present, we still have families who hardly find it possible to have even one meal in a day. Claudine Mukandoli, a mother of three children is one of those. Living in Musanze District, she explained how difficult it has been for her to put food on the table due to lack of land to cultivate, little or no earning sometimes ,and high food prices in the local markets.
In an interview with Mukandoli, the Rwf 800 which she might earn after doing some casual works here and there is all she can use to purchase food to feed her family. She explained that due to high prices of food, this amount of money might not buy enough to satisfy her whole family for just one meal.
However, a smile and a voice of hope was evident when I asked her about the fact that she is one of the members of Turwanye Imirire mibi, a group which is comprised of twenty-one (21) women from Sangano village in Musanze District.
The group which was started last year, is one of the many that were formed by DERN (the implementing partner with International Potato Center – CIP) targeting women in different sectors of Musanze district to form farmer groups and grow Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes (OFSP) to fight against poverty and improve their nutrition levels.
According to Francine Nizigiyimana, head of Turwanye Imirire Mibi, there has been a tremendous change in each member’s life including Mukandoli ever since they started this group.
The women cultivate land, plant vines, weed and harvest the sweetpotatoes together. After harvesting, a certain percentage is shared amongst themselves for home consumption, and the rest is taken to the market for sell.
For the last season in August, the group harvested one thousand eight hundred (1,800) kilograms, despite some being stolen from the garden.
Nizigiyimana said that compared to the other types of sweetpotatoes they used to grow, OFSP is more suitable for them since it takes less period to mature (maximum four months) compared to 5-6 months taken by other normal roots. She also said that OFSP gives more yields referring to the small land on which they cultivate and what they were able to harvest from it.
She applauded CIP and the USAID for having initiated the project and giving them a ready market for their produce as after harvest, the agronomist at DERN buys a certain percentage of their roots and other taken to the market where they are immediately sold out. she added that there is much demand for these roots.
“Right from the harvest of our roots, we did not struggle to sell our produce. This all because CIP has already created an awareness within the public about this type of sweetpotatoes,” she said.