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Making science ‘work’ for farmers

CIALCA attended the International Scientific Conference organized by University of Rwanda between 14-16 June 2017, where, conference participants from all over the world had an opportunity to see and hear about CIALCA’s work in the Great Lakes region.
06/23/2017

Mr. Edward Habinshuti from Uwingando village in Kamonyi District used to harvest approximately three bags of maize from his farm per crop-cycle. With support from CIALCA he produced over 1500 banana seedlings for his farm from which he now harvests around 200 bunches worth $1,200 monthly. Waste-material from the banana plants does not remain unutilized: Peels, leaves and pseudo-stems are used as fodder for the family’s goats. In return, manure produced by the goats is used to fertilize the fields and maximize the plantation’s potential. His wife intercropped beans during the early stage of banana development, and returns from banana and bean production are 5 times higher than that of maize is the past. This increased income helped to overcome financial issues and allowed the family to renovate their residential home. 

CIALCA attended the International Scientific Conference organized by University of Rwanda between 14-16 June 2017, where, conference participants from all over the world had an opportunity to see and hear about CIALCA’s work in the Great Lakes region. Dr. Emmanuel Njukwe presented on ‘Variation of banana yields in banana-bean production systems in Rwanda’ and chaired a session on Sustainable Crop Production and Soil Fertility Management. 

Left: Mr. Habinshuti proudly shows one of the large banana bunches in his plantation in Kamonyi, Rwanda. Photo: M. McCampbell

A poster with results of integrated systems research in North-West Rwanda was presented, and in collaboration with partners learning materials from CIALCA were showcased. Private sector partner Africa Food Supply Ltd. joined to share their experience with the cost-effective banana macro-propagation technology that was developed by IITA and Bioversity International under CIALCA. Especially the live banana materials present in the exhibition booth, including a full demonstration of a propagation unit, attracted attention of conference participants. 

Right: Preparing planting bags for banana plantlets, Kamonyi Agricultural Resource and Training Centre. Photo: M. McCampbell.

On Thursday June 15 IITA hosted a field visit to the Kamonyi Agricultural Resource and Training Centre in the Southern region. The centre provides an excellent example of successful implementation of macro-propagation technology. Visitors were welcomed by the mayor of Kamonyi District, who highlighted the how the production of healthy banana seedlings thanks to the support received from CIALCA. The Training of Trainers activities organized by CIALCA through which members from Union des Jeunes pour le Développement Rurale (UJDR) were trained have been vital for the training centre’s success. With the opening of the resource and training centre, up to 300.000 banana planlets can be produced each year. 

Dr. Marc Schut talked about IITAs presence in Africa, activities from projects such as CIALCA and achievements in Rwanda so far. Marc emphasized the importance of close collaboration between research and public and private scaling partners, so that science-based innovations – such as the production of clean planting materials through macro propagation – can make a difference for farmers. He also mentioned that the Rwanda station is looking ahead, developing future plans for innovative research in the region on topics such as nutrition and ICT for agriculture. 

Right: Visitors examining macropropagation units in Kamonyi. Photo: M. McCampbell.

The final speech by Dr. Emmanuel Njukwe, emphasised tackling key challenges in the banana system, such as diseases, availability of planting material, and access to varieties. 

This fieldtrip was an important opportunity for CIALCA to share our experiences, outputs and impact in the region to an interested and enthusiastic audience. We hope the future will bring us many more opportunities to show the exciting research and development work that we do together with our partners.

by Mariette McCampell

Latest Publication

CIALCA project report: 2013-16
Report documenting CIALCA's vision, progress and achievements during Phase 3 (2013-2016).

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