Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Seeds of Transformation: How Vincent Mwiseneza is Cultivating Food Security through Improved Seeds

In the heart of Nyamirama and Mukarange sectors, Kayonza District, Eastern Province, a dedicated agripreneur named Vincent Mwiseneza is sowing the seeds of change. With unwavering passion, Mwiseneza left his office job to embark on a mission to combat food insecurity. His vision extends far beyond the borders of Rwanda, as he seeks to tackle the global challenge of feeding a growing population. In a world where food demand soars to unprecedented heights, Mwiseneza believes that the key to ensuring food security lies in the use of improved seeds.

The Power of Improved Seeds:

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), improved seeds not only boost crop yields but also enhance the efficiency and productivity of vital inputs like fertilizers, irrigation, machinery, and human labor. This, in turn, fosters sustainable crop production, aligning perfectly with Mwiseneza’s mission.

Connecting Certified Seeds to Food Security:

Mwiseneza’s mission revolves around bridging the gap between certified seeds that amplify yields and the overall augmentation of food production. His belief is simple: if every farmer adopts this approach, supported by the government, food security can take a significant leap forward.

Government Support for Agricultural Transformation:

Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ildephonse Musafiri, emphasizes the urgent need to boost farm productivity through modern practices such as the use of fertilizers. He asserts that unless Rwandan farmers embrace these modern methods, productivity per hectare will remain below global standards—an issue that needs urgent attention as the population continues to grow. Presently, Rwanda stands at approximately 80 percent food security.

Adapting to Climate Change:

Mwiseneza, a 35-year-old agriprenuer and the founder of You and I Best Seeds, understands the urgency of adapting to agriculture models that prioritize quality and quantity, especially in the face of unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change. His specialization lies in multiplying orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, renowned as a rich source of beta carotene, a vital plant-based compound that converts to vitamin A when consumed.

A Healthier Future through Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes:

Beyond food security, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes offer numerous health benefits, including immunity-boosting properties, improved digestion, and potential therapeutic effects on conditions like bronchitis, arthritis, and stomach ulcers.

A Growing Impact:

Mwiseneza multiplies certified seeds supplied by the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) across Kayonza and Gisagara districts, cultivating a total of 55 hectares of land. Through his company, You and I Best Seeds, he supplies these seeds to various clients, including government institutions, projects, NGOs, associations, and individuals.

The Road Less Traveled:

Mwiseneza’s journey wasn’t without challenges. While he started with limited capital, his unwavering determination drove him forward. He emphasizes that, above all, the desire to make a difference is the most critical factor. His journey has been marked by perseverance and persistence, ultimately leading to success.

A Lifelong Commitment to Agriculture:

Unlike many who view agriculture as a daunting sector demanding heavy investments and physical presence, Mwiseneza considers it a sector that welcomes everyone, regardless of age. He sees it as an opportunity to make a positive impact on his community.

Empowering Others:

Mwiseneza takes pride in the fact that his work not only empowers him but also others who assist him in his endeavors. This fulfillment far surpasses a monthly paycheck.

A Vision for Expansion:

With a vision to expand his activities to 100 hectares in the near future, with 50 hectares under his ownership, Mwiseneza aims to produce various crop varieties that will significantly contribute to food security in Rwanda.

A Call for Collaboration:

He believes that private seed multipliers, in collaboration with government institutions, can revolutionize food security by promoting improved seed varieties. Incentives and support along the agricultural value chain could be the game-changer needed to boost food production and eradicate malnutrition.

A Brighter, Nutrient-Rich Future:

Mwiseneza’s work with orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and other improved seed varieties holds the promise of a future where malnutrition is a thing of the past. By encouraging farmers to embrace improved seeds and with government support, the challenge of food security and malnutrition can be overcome, leading to a healthier and more prosperous nation.

In conclusion, Vincent Mwiseneza’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of agriculture, especially when fueled by passion and a commitment to change. His work offers a ray of hope for a future where food security is attainable, and malnutrition is vanquished.

The original article was written by Linda M. Kagire for The New Times

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