In 2008, Jeanne Mukankwiro lost her mother and her father had died years earlier. Her hope for the future was very slim.
Living in Mwendo cell, Kabaya sector of Ngororero district, Mukankwiro had only two siblings that were her immediate responsibility. But she was also a single mother of two children.
She inherited no property because her parents had none. She walked to the street and began begging to take care of her children and siblings.
One day, a neighbour found Mukankwiro on the street and begged her to quit the street but she refused saying she did not have any option.
“She told me about Mwendo farmers’ cooperative KABKM, and convinced me to join it that life would not be the same anymore,” Mukankwiro told KT Press.
When she joined, she was initiated to wheat farming, but had no idea on how to make money out of this farming but tried until she earned Rwf 35,000 at the end of the season.
“I worked harder after the first season, and since then, life was never the same,” said Mukankwiro.
Currently, Mukankwiro is part of 93 members of KABKM cooperative that grows wheat on 25 hectares producing over 3.5 tons per hectare every season.
Each of the two seasons of the year, Mukankwiro earns Rwf 100,000 from wheat.
“From this money, I pay tuition for my siblings and I was able to buy a cow,” she said adding, “I no longer belong to the deprived category.”
According to Fulgence Ndikubwimana, Kabaya sector agronomist, wheat production in the sector has increased to 3.5 tons per hectare, from 700kgs per hectare in 2006 with involvement of cooperatives.
Felix Nshimiyimana, another member of KABKM cooperative said, the only challenge they are facing is low prices in the market. He said that they sell at Rwf 450 per kg, which, he said, is small compared to cost of growing wheat.
According to available statistics, wheat production in the country has tripled to more than 70,000 tons per year since last year from 24,000 tons in 2007.
“The country owes increase of production to land consolidation, use of fertilizers and best seeds,” said Didier Karinganire from the Agricultural Information and Communication program at Ministry of Agriculture.
Wheat is mainly grown in Northern, Western and Southern province.