The FPA (Farmers’ Potato Academy) in Rwanda is a school of potato farmers, initiated from farmers’ wishes and owned by farmers through Imbaraga Farmers’ Organisation. The Academy is envisioned to become a decentralised learning academy in which multiple value chain actors collaborate to increase the knowledge of potato growing in the sector. Farmers are playing a key role in the academy, through their farmer organisations and cooperatives, while also government agencies, NGOs and private sector participate. Through professionalising existing extension systems, the academy is contributing to the realisation of the potato sector development objectives in Rwanda.
Since 1998 Agriterra collaborates with Imbaraga with the goal to empower farmers' organisations. Agriterra connected Imbaraga to the agri-agencies alliance Agricord in 2010 where Imbaraga was linked to AFDI (Agriculteurs Francais pour Le Development International). In 2012 Imbaraga was invited by AFDI to an exchange trip to France. Since then, Agriterra, AFDI and Imbaraga have had a close collaboration.
Over the last two years, Agriterra has supported the cooperatives affiliated to Imbaraga to improve the management of on-farm activities, particularly in the potato value chain.
They did this through Agripool, consultant and business advisor services in soil fertility restoration (October 2020), good agricultural practices (December 2020), seed potato multiplication (December 2020), organic compost production (April 2021) and the potato academy to inform, train and demonstrate good agricultural practices to potato farmers (2021).
Building upon this trajectory focused on good agricultural practices in the potato value chain Agriterra assisted Imbaraga in the development of the grant proposal approved by AFDI. This grant finances activities to train extension officers and farmers in good agricultural practices, purchase agricultural inputs and improve farmers´ calculation of cost of production in the potato and sweet potato value chains, but also for maize, beans, and soybeans. Additionally, this grant finances a lobby trajectory initiated with Agriterra through the farmer advocacy and consultation tool (FACT) to develop the Farmers’ Statute, the national law that governs the agricultural profession.