-  Agriculture Training and Demonstration Farm  -

As 90% of Rwanda’s revenue derives from agriculture, farming is a key lever in developing this emerging country that contends with so many challenges. And yet, despite a major skills and education deficit, Rwanda is making huge strides forward. While still rebuilding itself after the genocide of the mid-nineties, Rwanda is committed to a process of education and development in many sectors, including its main economic base of agriculture.

Tag has teamed up with Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a remarkable project to house and teach orphans and other vulnerable young adults from across Rwanda. Situated on 40 acres of land, the village provides an optimal opportunity for developing a model farm and agricultural training centre. It offers a perfect platform to introduce Israeli farming expertise that can easily be adapted for Rwanda. A local agronomist is employed to ensure the project is aligned with local conditions and needs.

Tag and ASYV aim to provide agricultural training to the 500 youth living in the village, while creating a regional centre of excellence there, from which to share innovative farming techniques with surrounding villages. The project has the support of the regional governor and has the blessing of Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture.

In line with ASYV’s philosophy, twice a week the youth of the village go out into the neighbouring communities to assist their neighbours in a program called “Tikkun Olam” (Hebrew for “Repairing the World”). Now they will also be empowered to share with the surrounding villages the new agricultural knowledge they acquire through this project.

Tag sent veteran agronomist Dr. Moshe Azencot to ASYV for two periods of six weeks, in which he has transformed the agricultural capabilities of the village. Dr. Azencot has inspected the crops and animal production on the farm and reviewed the curriculum for Professional Skills in Modern Farming. He has written a report and action plan based on what he learned which is now being implemented.

 

Directions for the future include:

Farm Development

  • To grow economically viable and sustainable crops
  • To grow crops to supply food for the dining room and to minimize acquisition of food products from the market
  • To introduce and implement new technologies with the students to improve the crops and yields
  • To install demonstration plots for farmers from the surrounding area, and introduce improved crop technologies
  • To concentrate on crops for chicken feed preparation to enhance the chicken farm
  • To develop operation manuals, procedures and protocols for different parts of the farm
  • To attempt to acquire additional farm tools and equipment
  • To improve and increase dairy production
  • To better utilize existing facilities (greenhouse, shed net)
  • To improve citrus yields
  • To improve the apiary (beekeeping)

Curriculum Development

  • To enable students to transition from traditional to modern agriculture
  • To teach the students theoretical and practical farming skills and techniques
  • To assist students in preparation of projects for implementation after graduation
  • To teach students how to raise various crops and animals in their home villages
  • To introduce improvements and innovations that may be adapted in the villages
  • To involve the students in building the curriculum, via the participative curriculum development approach
  • To ensure the curriculum will include both theory and practical skills
  • To ensure the curriculum will include visits to agricultural production sites and institutions such as: local markets, supermarkets, large and small traditional farms, commercial farms, experimental stations, soil labs, agricultural inputs dealers, etc.
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