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Agriculture is not just for the elderly: A lesson in the choices of Ishimwe

Ishimwe Sylivine is among the youth in the Rwamagana District who have devoted themselves to agriculture, where she engages in the nursery business for avocado fruit trees, a job she confirms sustains her and can also generate a significant income.

Ishimwe says she started this nursery business in 2019 after graduating from university with a degree in agriculture. She has now been in the avocado tree nursery business for five years, a job she does with joy.

In an interview with Kura, she mentioned choosing to enter the avocado tree nursery business after noticing the high demand for avocados but a lack of available trees.

She said, “The reason I chose to propagate avocado trees was after seeing that there was a challenge of avocado trees being scarce in Rwanda, I sought information and found out that avocados have a significant market abroad. I felt I could contribute by propagating seedlings and providing them to those in need, thus increasing the production for export.”

Ishimwe started by propagating from 5000 avocado seedlings, beginning at her family home. Initially, she focused on preparing quality seedlings because she was committed to purchasing avocados, extracting the seeds, and for the germination process, she went to the professionals at RAB, which had established guidelines for germination, enabling her to produce quality seedlings that many customers appreciated, leading to a large client base.

Ishimwe mentions that producing fruit seedlings, especially avocados, is a job that can sustain someone if done correctly. She notes that, compared to her peers with similar education, who might earn between 300,000 Frw to 350,000 Frw, she can make between 200,000 Frw to 300,000 Frw in a good month.

Some of the challenges she faces in preparing avocado seedlings include finding a place to work, as renting land is expensive, and the lack of a constant market.

She states, “I work without a specific market, searching for customers who plant on their own. If I found a steady market, I could expand to 100,000 seedlings. Another challenge is finding a suitable place to work, which is hard to afford; if resolved, perhaps by the government finding us a place, we could expand significantly.”

Ishimwe advises the youth to engage in agriculture as it can be very profitable if one is passionate and enjoys the work.

She advises, “I would encourage the youth to invest in agriculture professionally. They should not hesitate to start any project, visit others who are running similar projects, and not be afraid to do it because it’s an area where you can invest and prosper.”

Ishimwe mentions that she is still trying to expand her project and that it’s going well as she started with 5000 seedlings and now manages 35,000 seedlings.

She says she can afford to rent a place for processing, pay over ten workers, including four permanent ones, all thanks to selling these avocado tree seedlings.

Ishimwe prepares her seedlings in January and sells them in September once they have matured properly. Currently, she has 35,000 seedlings ready to sell in September this year, with each seedling priced at 1500 Frw because they are well-grown.

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