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Young Agripreneurs are modernizing and transforming the Industry


According to Rwanda’s Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation Phase 4 (PSTA 4) 2018-24, the agricultural sector is one of the most important sectors in the country, accounting for one-third of the Rwandan economy.

It generates nearly half of all exports and employs two-thirds of the working-age population.

Young people were not drawn to this industry in recent years; it was dominated by older people and those engaged in substandard trading.

However, due to the sector’s profitability as well as various issues, young people are being urged through various methods to take charge and action in transforming and strengthening the sector.

Iraguha Marie Aline, the founder of Alifarms Group Ltd, is one of the innovative young Agripreneurs aiming to transform this sector, which is said to be the country’s backbone.

Alifarms is an agribusiness that specializes in growing fruits and vegetables using a sustainable agricultural system known as Hydroponics.

Vertical farming is also known as soilless agriculture. Because it uses recycled water and solar panels, the system is environmentally friendly.

Hydroponics has proven to be more beneficial than traditional soil-based plant production. It has the following benefits: Water can be used more efficiently by up to 90%. Production will increase three to tenfold in the same area.

A well-managed hydroponic system can produce many plants twice as quickly. The surroundings are sterile. In other words, no pesticides are used. 20% less space is required for expansion.

Water can be saved by reusing the water in the system. Hydroponics increases the levels of vitamins C, E, and lipoic acid, all of which are important for our health.

Alifarms provides produce to local markets, hotels, and institutions. They design systems for individuals, hotels, and institutions, as well as providing consulting services.

It was an idea she had in 2017 when she moved from her hometown to Kigali City because her new environment did not allow her to grow vegetables and fruits like she used to.

A bright lump shone on her head as she made the modern decision to cultivate without using land.

“There is a misconception that people have—who said Agriculture isn’t a field for young people?” she said.

She also mentioned that before moving to Kigali, she used to grow vegetables. She was unwilling to accept the reality of not being able to continue, so she “researched a lot on how I can plant without necessarily using land.”

It wasn’t something she had studied, but it was something she was interested in. She believes that by working together, she and her team will be able to increase productivity and take their work to the next level.

She encourages the youth to think broadly, particularly to abandon traditional agricultural practices in favor of modern technology, because, in her opinion, land is shrinking and the demand for food is increasing.

All stakeholders are working together to strengthen agriculture. According to a National Bank report, agriculture sector output increased by 4.9 percent from 2.1 percent, primarily due to food production, which accounted for 62.3 percent of agriculture value added in 2020/21.

Furthermore, MINAGRI and launched a $300 million project last year to commercialize and de-risk Rwanda’s agriculture sector.

Dr Mukeshimana Gerardine, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, stated that this sector requires innovation through new technologies that farmers should adopt through trainings and other means.

Young people are encouraged to take advantage of such opportunities because participation in these revolutionary times is critical.

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The techinique Hydroponics is also known as vertical farming
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Alifarms plants vegetables without the need for land

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