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Rwanda – Story of a Strawberry Farmer

Pelagie Akimanizanye, a 37-year-old mother of three from Bushoki hill in the picturesque Nyirangarama, Northern Rwanda, is a testament to the power of perseverance and hard work. Orphaned at just 14, Pelagie embarked on an agricultural journey that would define her life. She began cultivating strawberries on a modest 450 sqm piece of leased land, diligently supplying her entire produce to the renowned Sina Gerard enterprise. 

Her life took a remarkable turn when she engaged with the ICU’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) through the Farmer Field School (FFS). It was here that Pelagie recognised the untapped potential of her strawberry business. Her dedication and the skills acquired through the program enabled her to invest in additional land, expanding her farm to an impressive 1000 sqm.

 “Before the arrival of ICU, we used to cultivate in a natural way, but when ICU intervened, there was an improvement; the harvest increased”

Today, Pelagie’s success is evident in the exponential growth of her income. A decade ago, she harvested 30 kilograms of strawberries weekly, earning around 4,500 RWF (approximately EUR 4). Now, her weekly harvest has quintupled to 150 kilograms, bringing in an income of 90,000 RWF (about EUR 90). This significant leap in earnings is a direct result of the support and interventions by ICU, in collaboration with the College Foundation Sina Gerard (CFSG).

“We thank the project of ICU because we have reached a very outstanding level”

Moreover, Pelagie’s involvement in the Village Saving and Lending Associations (VSLA) fostered a culture of saving, which has had a transformative effect on her life. Thanks to her improved financial status, she has been able to afford her children’s education and invest in quality farming inputs.

Pelagie’s journey from a struggling orphan to a successful strawberry farmer is a source of inspiration. It highlights the transformative impact of agricultural education and community support systems in empowering individuals and uplifting lives










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