In Rwanda, people who don’t work in formal sector and paid on a monthly basis have long been labeled farmers, while people should learn how to cultivate and exercise farming professionally.
People who have never touched the hoe find themselves in the group of farmers. This has a negative impact on the development of agriculture.
Some farmers grouped by the Syndicat Ingabo believe that the situation should stop and change, because it may prevent not only the development of agriculture but also that of farmers. For them, it is high time for the title “farmer” to be given to the one who knows what he / she is looking for in agriculture and not to anyone.
Jean d’Amour Ntamabyariro, the president of the trade union says that the farmer is anyone who has learned to cultivate and not the one who does it because he/she is jobless or lacks anythingelse to do. “As no one can be a doctor without having learned how to treat, no one should be called a farmer when they barely know how to handle the hoe”, he says. For him, agriculture must be professional so that it can be more productive and benefit farmers. He gives advice: “If you really are a farmer, you must make sure that your hoe feeds you and develops you. That it is not just a subsistence farming!” According to Ntamabyariro, it is deplorable that someone claims to be a banana farmer, for example, while 20 harvested bananas barely fill a basket.
It is in this context that the Syindicat Ingabo has set itself the task of helping its members and other people of good will to improve their agriculture, by making it professionally and doing it as entrepreneurs. It is a job that it leads on cultural fields where farmers learn by practicing.
“I would have become a millionaire”
Some farmers in Muhanga, Ruhango, Nyanza and Gisagara districts, formed by the Ingabo trade union in partnership with the RAB, testify that they have never been farmers even though they farm since long ago!
Claudine Manibaho, is one of those formerly known farmers. During a training organized by the syndicate, she gives her testimony. “I have grown and cultivated for twenty years, but this training makes me discover that I was not yet a farmer,” she says, remorse readable on his face. This old farmer confesses that since she had planted cassava, she just noticed that she did not do it properly and that always had bad consequences without her knowledge of the production that she got.
According to Claudine, just like the other farmers crossed after this training, agriculture would be a good area of investment, which would help develop if it was done professionally. “If I had learned well before what I just learned and carried out farming as business, I would have become a millionaire,” regrets Anicet Bizimana, farmer resident in the district of Nyanza in the southern province, before saying that he will change everything and share the knowledge with the other so-called farmers.
The Ingabo Syndicate is the farmers’ forum with headquarters in Muhanga District. It operates in 8 districts where it has about 15 thousand members. It has given itself the mission to help farmers so that they can make their agriculture a business. Currently, the union is only training members on the professional culture of cassava, pineapple and banana.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, MINAGRI show that 80% of Rwandans are farmers. The national agriculture policy plans to increase arable land as well as agricultural production. But on the other hand, by doing it professionally, the number of farmers will decrease as Rwanda government will create more non-farming jobs.
On behalf of MINAGRI, agriculture remains the backbone for sustained economic growth in Rwanda. Currently, the agriculture sector constitutes around a third of the economy, it accounts for just under half of goods exports and provides employment for over two thirds of the working population.


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