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Feature: More Rwandan farmers overcome poverty with Chinese agricultural technology

DATE:2015-12-22       SOURCE:Xinhua News Agency

KIGALI, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Emeritha Muhimbundu, a rice farmer from Huye district in southern Rwanda used to grow rice disorderly, without applying fertilizers.

Her rice plantation could also be submerged by water as she was ignorant of draining.


But this is no longer the case, as Chinese experts training farmers about land draining, proper weeding and fertilizer application.


"There is a great improvement. We used to harvest about 200 kg of rice per parcel but now we harvest about 600 kg," said Muhimbundu.


She is one of the 189 farmers who have received training about paddy rice and upland rice cultivation technology from China-Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center located in southern Rwanda.


The farmers' harvest increased to 6 tons per hectare from 4 tons per hectare in two rice demonstration zones in Rubona in Huye district and Mututu in Nyanza district, according to Cao Zhimin, political counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kigali.


A new rice variety called "Gold Mountain 28" even yielded 9 tons per hectare, said Cao.


He affirmed Chinese government's commitment to strengthening agricultural cooperation with African countries.


Since its establishment in April 2011, 1,271 people had been trained by the center, including university students, local technicians and farmers, Cao said.


Over the same period, a new mushroom breeding technology has also spread to all four Rwandan provinces and Kigali.


A total of 310 tons of mushroom spawns had been given to Rwandan farmers, leading to production of over 4.4 million tubes, generating an income of over 3.5 million U.S. dollars, according to officials.


Louis Butare, director general of the Rwanda Agriculture Board hailed the center for its interventions that have led to remarkable results.


This center, he said, had transferred modern rice and mushroom growing skills to farmers.


People who had been trained at the center could now make their own mushroom tubes and others could buy from there and grow them, then sell them in the cities, he said.


"Even university lecturers come to learn agricultural technology here and have engaged in mushroom growing where they are earning very big money," he added.

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