Home Business & TechEconomy IITA and Partners Rethinking An Agriculture that Transforms Waste into Solutions

IITA and Partners Rethinking An Agriculture that Transforms Waste into Solutions

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
1:43 am

Staff of Maggot Farm Production showing the process of black soldiers farming and the resulting fertilizer

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA)-Rwanda has concluded a four-year pilot phase of a project that will support transformation of the domestic waste from the agricultural residues into solutions that are expected to bring greater returns.

The rural-urban nexus: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience (RUNRES) is a project that seeks to valorise the agriculture residues from the foodstuff that the rural Rwanda sells to the town.

These residues in most cases become a burden given the challenge of poor recycling; they constitute a hazard to the environment in the vicinity of any landfill.

The project has understood that such residues can be transformed into manure and livestock feeds that would return to the farming society to constitute an input that would turn around farming returns.

“It is not a new project that we are creating. We are collaborating with investors who are in business. For example, we approached investors like COPED who are in the waste collection in the city of Kigali. The plan was to teach the households to separate hazardous waste from the useful organic waste that can be transformed into organic fertilizers,” said Speciose Kantengwa, coordinator of the RUNRES project.

“We also have a company that does farming of black soldiers which produce larva, a livestock feed rich in protein. The production chain necessitates use of the food residues which also make good fertilizer.”

Speciose Kantengwa, coordinator of the RUNRES project

Also in this endeavour, a company that used to produce industrial cassava flour was supported to transform the cassava peels into animal feeds that can reduce the percentage of the maize or soya in the animal feed concentrate at an average of 50%.

“The project was supported by Suiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, but we started with a small scale in Kamonyi district. After four years, we are now rolling out the initiative at national level and we think that the three partners and their creativity will inspire other investors to join,” Kantengwa said during the closure of the pilot phase in Kigali, June 5.

In the last four years, the donor sponsored this innovation with approximately 1 Million Euros.

Kantengwa made it clear that this project may not necessarily support the investors with fund, but technical support and education would also help those established investors who may just need to have the savoir-faire.

We have laid a good foundation

During a panel of discussion, the beneficiaries of RUNRES project said that the initial phase has built a good foundation and given a clear path of how they can put the waste to good use and make business sense.

Penalists explaining how RUNRES changed their business mindset

Paulin Buregeya, the CEO of COPED, an established waste collection company in Kigali said that the four years have left them with great experience in the area of education of the community, in terms of separation/sorting the waste.

“For the quality organic fertilisers, we were looking for purely organic waste because the rest make the input harmful. We made several production attempts and measured the outcome. We progressively improved and found that the project is feasible and makes business sense,” Buregeya said.

Akanoze, from production of cassava flour to animal feeds production

As for Akanoze, the company that normally produces cassava flour, the new innovation of producing animal feeds from cassava peels is also paying off.

Alice Nyirasagamba, the company founder said that they once afforded production of 13 tons of animal feeds from 19 tons of cassava peels.

“The current challenge is to satisfy the local market, otherwise our feeds are popular. We are looking forward to opening another station in the proximity of cassava farmers, because the transport to our factory is sometimes cumbersome,” she said.

On his side, Francis Kavutse of Maggot Farm Production said that initially, they started with 20 crates, which have now grown to 7000 crates and the production from 100 kilograms to 4 tons per month.

They started with a small piece of land of 500 square meters that has now grown to nearly 2500 square meters.

“The only challenge we are facing today, is that we don’t have some modern equipment that would for example allow us to dry and sell dried production. We are still selling fresh because we don’t have electricity at the site and the required machinery at our disposal. Being in the proximity of the households, we cannot dry by the sun because the smell of the larva is very strong,” said Kavutse.

He is confident that his company will continue to support the vulnerable, including underprivileged women who get job at the company.

IITA is a nonprofit organization that works with partners to enhance crop quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture, with the ultimate goals of reducing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.

Related Posts