In response to challenges in the affordability of climate-smart farms and related equipment for Rwandan farmers, a local agri-business group, Innovation for Impact (INFIM) is using innovation to find alternatives.
This vision has earned them the ‘best youth-led agricultural organization across Africa’ in the Foundation of the Year (FOYA) Awards 2021.
The awarding ceremony that was held in Nairobi on August 31, awarded INFIM team a non-monetary prize of mentorship and matching the team with potential investors in agriculture.
Climate-smart farming is an approach to farming that increases productivity and resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Having graduated their high school in 2018, four agriculture students, Mugisha Ernest, Eric Sibomana, Benjamin Ntihemuka, and Jean Damascene Kubwayo, identified a need to improve, develop and elevate innovative ideas to improve the health sector through agriculture.
To pursue their goals, they initiated Innovation for impact agriculture for a transformation project (INFIM) in 2019 with a strong belief in developing ideas from fundamental research to make a remarkable impact on Rwandan agriculture.
“During that research, we realized climate-smart farming will be one of the solutions to the problems facing Rwandan agricultural system because most of our farmers think that agriculture is all about digging and harvesting, but our research went further,” said Ernest Mugisha, head of INFIM, citing that they wanted to educate farmers on the modern methods of farming.
Unfortunately, Mugisha noted, that these farmers who are concerned solely about digging and harvesting get little in return and hence their improvement of standards of living remains low.
Upon adopting the improved farming styles of climate-smart farming, the group rented up to two hectares of land to cultivate and apply the innovations they had brainstormed.
They embraced horticultural farming, concentrating on tomatoes, onions, and chili among other products.
Apart from embracing the new farming style and raising the farmers’ standards of living, the local startup also sought to change the bias that the agricultural sector is a low-income earning sector by raising awareness especially to the youths that this sector is also a sector of survival.
“We also wanted to open the eyes of the youth, inspire them and showcase the opportunities present in the agricultural sector,” added Mugisha.