Feed the Future Activity Supports Female Pineapple Growers in Rwanda to Strengthen Economic and Social Resilience
“Growing up, I was made to believe that girls were only meant to get married and after look after their spouse,” says Josiane Musabyimana, a mother of two and a resident of Mugesera sector in Ngoma district, Rwanda.
It is this mentality that continued to work against Musabyimana most of her adult life. Faced with limited choices and resources, Musabyimana opted to raise just enough to feed her family, but always dreamed of doing more. In 2019, Musabyimana enrolled in a solidarity group of 19 members from her locality, which was facilitated by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze activity. Solidarity groups are made up of 10-15 members whose aim is to engage in income-generating activities and to save for a purpose.
Musabyimana was elected by her fellow solidarity group members to lead their group and to help members profitably engage in pineapple farming, a prominent activity around Ngoma that they chose. The group leased 5 hectares (ha) of land and opened a pineapple farm. By the end of 2020, they reaped 240 tons of pineapple, which they quickly sold to Inyange Industries Ltd. at $0.15 (150 Rwandan francs (RWF)) per kilogram. This partnership earned the group over $35,000 (36,000,000 RWF), while also helping to create market linkages and guard against postharvest losses. Beyond the group, Musabyimana inspired a neighboring cooperative to lease land, engage in profitable farming and adopt saving techniques.
Musabyimana’s solidarity group is one of the 1,178 created by Hinga Weze across 10 districts. She is also one of the activity’s 44,192 female solidarity group members, which make up 72% of all solidarity group participants.
“We have been able to save up to $2,000 (2 million RWF) in profit up from $200 (200,000 RWF) from before Hinga Weze’s support,” highlighted Musabyimana. “We have also expanded our farmland from 1 ha to 2.5 ha and distributed two chickens to each member of our group.”
At this rate, nothing stands in Musabyimana’s way to prosperity.
To date, solidarity groups have been able to save approximately $28,000 (31.6 million RWF). Hinga Weze aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmer income, improve the nutritional status of Rwandan women and children and increase the resilience of agriculture and food systems to the changing climate.