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New Youth Internship Programme to boost agricultural productivity

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in collaboration with Capacity Development and Employment Services Board (CESB) has launched an internship programme, which will see unemployed agronomy graduates work in agriculture cooperatives in their respective home areas for a period of twelve months, to gain more skills and provide local farmers with technical assistance.

The new internship programme, launched on August 16, 2017 in Muvumba marshland located in Nyagatare District, is under coordination of Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF).

The first batch intends to deploy about 800 interns in rice value chain across the country by the end of September, according to Jean Baptiste Hategekimana, the RYAF president. Every intern will be tasked support farmers in 20 hectares on a daily basis.

After deploying the interns in the rice value chain, the same exercise will go on with other key agricultural value chains in a bid to provide Rwandan farmers with best agronomic practices so that they can maximize their agricultural productivity.

And expectations are high. The State Minister for Agriculture, Fulgence Nsengiyumva, said a pilot programme has been successful.

The pilot phase was conducted in Irish potatoes seeds multiplication.

“After engaging the unemployed agronomists in Irish potatoes seeds multiplication, productivity increased from 400 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes,” State Minister Nsengiyumva said at the launch of the internship programme in Nyagatare District in Eastern Province.

For young graduates to be considered for internship they have to register online through Capacity Building and Employment Services Board (CESB), and notify Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF).

According to Antonia Mutoro, the Director General of CBESB, they are certain the country will have knowledge-equipped agronomists as a result of the internship programme.

“A few years ago, the youth had a mindset that agriculture is for middle-aged, uneducated people, agriculture needs young and educated people to practice farming professionally,” Mutoro said.

She called upon the internees to work hard to prove their worth at their places they are assigned so they can earn from their input.

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