Kia Corporation, a South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer has handed over the Green Light Project (GLP) that will continue to enable over 2,000 Rwandan farmers in Rwamagana district to produce high quality maize and remain economically resilient.
The GLP project, implemented by Merry Year International, was launched in Rwanda in 2018 as the latest stage in Kia’s ongoing GLP global corporate social responsibility (CSR) program across the world.
In Rwanda, the project managed to establish activities aimed at improving agriculture through three components- establishing a GLP vocational training center, the mobility program and the program to support self-reliance in the Gahengeri sector.
The farmer’s Vocational Training Center provided modern farming practices skills to beneficiaries with annual uptake of at least 100 farmers per intake.
The mobility program utilized the mobile vehicles donated by Kia to run mobile educational courses in farming and to provide rental service of farming equipment.
Under self-resilience farmers witnessed setting up storage, drying facilities and providing farmers with irrigation and shelling equipment.
There was also a donation of two Green Light mobile farmer’s school trucks to handle dry seasons and post-harvest management.
This project’s assets and activities were this June 29, 2022 handed over to the beneficiaries in Gahengeri sector after five years of improving skills and methods of maize farming and farm produce in the area that is largely known for growing maize.
Cleophas Rugwizangoga, one of the beneficiaries who was able to learn English at the center stated that farmers are very proud of the benefits from the project and his community has witnessed change.
“I would like to first thank KIA for training us on modern maize farming which has enabled our farmers to increase produce and use the skills to teach others,” Rugwizangoga said during the reception event.
“We used to harvest one ton per hectare, but now we get more than four tons per hectare, a fact that brings us hope to want to reach 10 tons per hectare in future.”
Rugwizangoga revealed that through GLP sponsored study tours, the project activities have increased the number of farmer’s interest in learning more and farmer’s groups have thus grown from two to 42 in the last five years.
“There are many things that the project has done to enable us to reach where we are now but one of these is we got fertilizer loans which helped us to improve the produce- an opportunity we never had from anyone,” Rugwizangoga said.
As a matter of sustainability and self-reliance, he said that the farmers wish to diversify to soybeans to improve soil fertility, practice crop rotation and tap into the soya market.
The GLP program also supported the corn distribution business of CODAEGA cooperative (in Gahengeri sector) so that they could prepare a foundation for revenue generation.
Daniel Niyirora, the CODAEGA cooperative president said that the GLP project has since 2018 received various support which enabled farmers to form a cooperative to improve incomes of citizens.
“When we started as a cooperative we got a lot of support from GLP- one of these is the mobile school trucks to assist in training farmers and distribute produce. This has encouraged many farmers to join us and we have seen growth in membership to over 1000 members,” Niyirora said.
Gahengeri sector officials congratulated KIA and Merry Year International for initiating a community transforming project.
“All of us will have one heart to take a big step forward for a sustainable future. Merry Year International would like to promise that we will do our best to support the beneficiaries and extend the project benefits to other areas,” said Peter Rukundo, an official at MYI.
Kia’s Green Light Project currently works with local people on projects in six African countries – Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia – and plans to expand throughout other developing countries in Africa and all around the world.