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French Beans - Growth and Prosperity

Farmer producer groups formed through AEE projects have experienced success in working together to grow, harvest, process, and sell marketable crops. In recent years, AEE Rwanda has brought the farmer producer group concept to savings groups established under previous projects. The producer groups are linked with with agricultural input providers and produce buyers in a value-chain approach that is demonstrating success in increasing small-holder farmer incomes.

The Jijukamubyeyi (“Parent, Leave Ignorance Behind!”) and Umucyo (“Light”) savings groups, in Bugesera District, moved to collective farming in 2020 and 2021 respectively,  and have found success in their ventures. In 2023, they planted and harvested a crop of French beans, Rwanda’s fourth highest vegetable export by revenue ($US2,850,684 total exports for Rwanda in 2023). Here, their group leaders tell of of the changes they have seen.

Jijukamubyeyi Producer Group

“The savings and lending group we started in 2017 opened up our minds. We learned to do business and to invest our money in business activities.

“But in 2020 when the value-chain project for fruit and vegetables came, this was really something special. For example, the French beans business, it cost a lot of investment, but with this high investment, we get high profits. If we invest one million francs (RWF) we will make a profit of 1.2 million francs. Had we not had an insect problem, we could even have made a profit of 2.5 million francs in just 45 days.

“Through the project, I also get to meet with different market players and local leaders, which gives me a chance to have influence in my local community.”

— MUKANDEMEZO Jean d’Arc, Jijukamubyeyi producer group leader

Umucyo Producer Group

“Our group is fourteen women and four men. We started our savings group in 2013 and have kept the same members ever since. In 2021 AEE came promoting value-chains around fruit and vegetables and we started this horticulture project. We have kept on with our savings, but now are engaged in the business of farming because it is profitable.

“For example, French beans: we grow French beans and in 45 to 50 days they are ready for harvest. Then we plant another crop.

“Before, we were saving one RWF1,000 per week each, but now after starting the agribusiness, we save RWF 2,500. We are better able pay for our children’s education. As we plant, we already know where school fees are going to come from. Some of our members have renovated their houses, putting in a ceiling in or constructing an extra room.”

— Esperance MUKANDEKWE, Umucyo producer group leader.

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