Source: IWACU Burundi | 26 Sep 2014 | In Publi Reportage | Article written by Esperance Ndayikengurukiye (Kahawatu)
Exchanging experiences, sharing information as well as identifying opportunities and challenges were the main objectives of an “exchange visit” organized for Kahawatu beneficiaries in its neighboring country Rwanda, on September 16 and 17, 2014.
Twenty coffee growers, including twelve men and eight women, an agronomist of the federation “Nkorerangukize” in Ngozi and two Kahawatu agronomists took part in this initiative. “Exchange visits are among the most efficient tools for local capacity building, as it is not just about exchanging ideas but rather about seeing concrete results. These visits can also serve as self-assessment tools for the farmers,” explains Philippe Nyandwi, agronomist for Kahawatu.
During their stay, the Burundian coffee farmers visited two coffee washing stations of Rwacof Ltd (processor and exporter of Rwandan coffee) in the East and Southern provinces of Rwanda. On these sites, the team was able to observe different innovative techniques, such as “vermicompost” which is the product or the process of composting using various worms. Another technique discussed was “compost heap”, the produce of organic manure without digging pits.
The exchanges between Rwandan and Burundian coffee farmers focused on different themes including coffee tree maintenance, extension services offered to growers, the level of adaption and implementation of Good Agricultural Practices, as well as the relationships between coffee growers and processing facilities.
The observation made by the growers supervised
by Kahawatu is that the level of maintenance of coffee plantations and the techniques taught are similar to those taught in Rwanda. Also, the results are largely positive. “We are pleased with the training and the supervision provided by the Kahawatu agronomists, because we are trained on the latest techniques used in the coffee sector” notes Monique Koko, technical leader of the coffee growers of “Mafu” hill, located in Tangara, in Ngozi province. “However”, she adds, “the effective application of these techniques takes a lot of effort on our part.”
Charles Ndayizeye from the Gashikanwa community believes that “once we will master all the techniques being taught, there is no doubt that we will see our lives improve.”
“Participating in this visit enabled me to develop and enrich my professional experience, it also allowed me to be in contact with Rwandan agronomists; we will continue to exchange about our activities,” says Gaston Hakizamana, agronomist of the Federation “Nkorerangukize”.
In terms of the relations between growers and the washing stations, Rwandese coffee farmers expressed their satisfaction with the services provided. “The managers of the processing facilities are involved in the supervision and the maintenance of our coffee trees. Besides the technical support they give us credit and provide social and organizational support”, reveals Sebinyenzi Félicien, Rwandan coffee farmer.
The coffee growers who participated in the visit plan to share the achievements with the members of their respective groups during “coffee tasting sessions” scheduled from September 22nd to October 3rd.