Tea growers in Rwanda’s Western province hail the support by the U.S. African Development Foundation as the charity has donated 198 million francs to support the Gisovu and Muko Tea Growers Cooperative [COOTHEGIM] located in Rwanda’s Western province in Karongi District.
The Manager of COOTHEGIM Mr. Thomas Sinayobye lauded the USADF as the cooperative plans to use the funds to economically empower its members.
“The support of the USADF will help us prosper. The support helped us in various activities, including the construction of the cooperative’s stock and warehouse,” he said on Friday last week on 10th December 2021
“We bought 3 vehicles to transport our production for 84 million francs, we bought two motorcycles for our agronomists for 5.5 million francs, and strengthened our staff,” he said.
They also bought electronic scales, he said, which help farmers know the real weight of their production. He added that they had decided to collect the money in order to buy
their own vehicles to replace the old ones, thanks to the support of the USADF, they have now deposited 72 million francs.
Due to their activities, the cooperative has decided to promote other small-scale cooperatives and in that context it selected three cooperatives in the district of Karongi with a vision of developing their members with a subsidy of about 10 million francs.
The three cooperatives include COOPIAG which sells organic fertilizers with a grant of 2.8 million francs,Twubakane Cooperative for Small
Animal Husbandry (Chickens) with a grant of 4.5 million RWF while Twitezimbere Livestock Development Cooperative was given a grant of 2 million francs.
The presidents of three cooperatives Ntawuyigurira Etienne, Nyandwi Pierre and Nsekanabo Japhat applauded COOTHEGIM and said that they are committed to using these grants for the well-being of their members.
The USADF Country Program Coordinator in Rwanda , Geoffrey Kayigi said USADF chose the cooperatives based on their ability to manage the funds from the U.S. taxpayers in a bid to boost the well-being of Rwandans.
“We don’t provide fish, we teach them how to fish, but in the meantime let us give you something that will get you to the point where you can fish well,” he said.
The USADF promised to continue advising the the cooperatives so that they can prosper. COTHEGIM’s activities have benefited the people of Karongi district, according to its cash crop development manager, Angelique Munyankindi.
She said that the welfare of the cooperative helps the community to participate in social assistance programs, including paying for food, Health insurance, Ejo heza [a pension scheme], the education of their children and the development of the country in various ways.
COOTHEGIM started in 2004 with 2633 members cultivating on 727 hectares and now has grown to 3821 on 1140 hectares.