The New Times (Kigali)

20 February 2013

Rwanda: Kagame Rallies Nyamagabe to Fight Poverty

President Paul Kagame has told residents of one of the country's remotest areas that they do not deserve to live in poverty as they hold the key to economic prosperity through work hard.

The President delivered the message, yesterday, to a mammoth cheerful crowd that gathered at the grounds of the newly-constructed Mushubi Tea Factory in Buruhukiro sector, Nyamagabe district, to receive him.

The factory, a Rwf5b investment by the Multi-Sector Investment Group that the residents co-own with other investors, gives hope for prosperity in Buruhukiro and other poor areas in the district since it will employ some 3,000 people.

After thanking the residents for how they have moved from being a chronically hunger-striken region to attaining reasonable food security, Kagame told them that they are capable of achieving everything they need if they work hard, use technology, and ask for the government's help where necessary.

"Where Nyamagabe has come from and where it is today is a sign of possibility in terms of people's ability to drive their own progress," the President told the crowd that had braved the morning downpour to listen to him.

Steady development:

Kagame is on a two-day trip in Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts. As recent as two decades ago, the two districts were known for abject poverty in the country.

But the districts have experienced steady developments in the last few years as residents improved their farming techniques, especially with products that earn hard currency such as coffee and tea, while they also embraced government's advice to form cooperatives and investment companies such as MIG.

At one point, during President Kagame's interaction with the crowd at the grounds of Mushubi Tea Factory, a resident of Nyamagabe district who heads a cooperative of 220 bee farmers, told the President that they now make Rwf12 million from their honey produce every month.

Ange Imanishimwe said that six tonnes of honey they harvest every month by only exploiting a buffer zone around Nyungwe National Park is a far cry from what they used to gain from poaching the park's wealth doing disorganised honey farming.

Concluding his visit to Nyamagabe district, Kagame toured Mushubi Tea Factory and a mini-expo of Nyamagabe residents showcasing their best agricultural produce such as their coffee that ranked 7th in the world, potatoes, maize, beans, and yams.

Encouragment:

The President encouraged the people of Nyamagabe to keep working hard to exploit the potential of their best products such as tea and achieve many good things that the future holds.

"We want you to have good health, we need you to work hard, we need each and every one to play a part in developing themselves and the country," he said.

For residents of this remote area where access to a paved road requires a full hour drive in a bumpy road, development projects like the tea factory raises a lot of hope.

Looking at the factory, Alice Uwamariya, 32, said the plant will help her to exploit her one-hectare tea plantation since she will have a closer place to take her tea leaves.

"This factory nearby here is a guarantee that our tea will not go to waste again," she said.

A mother of four, Uwamariya said she was "very happy" that she had just seen the President face-to-face for the first time. She also said that she hopes that the district will soon provide her with fertilisers so that she can improve her tea plantation.

President Kagame will visit Nyaruguru District today where he will also interact with residents there after touring Kibeho School of the Blind that is providing education to 110 children.

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