Rwandan students who were trained in horticulture in Israel are applying acquired skills to boost fruits and vegetables production in Rwanda.
One of the new practices includes seed sowing of indeterminate varieties of tomatoes in cocopeat.
Cocopeat is the material, which remains after the fibers are removed from coconut shells.
Cocopeat is a totally organic material and does not undergo any treatment. It could be utilized by gardeners for a number of different herb types and indoor methods.
In collaboration with the Israel’s International Center for Agricultural Training (Agrostudies), the Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources, have been sent Rwandan students to Israel for internship program in horticulture since last year.
This January 2014, Emmanuel Ndayizigiye, one of the students benefited from this internship program, has already started applying skills he acquired during the program.
“Am introducing the soilless farming practice in Musanze of Northern province,” he said.
According to the young horticulturalist, seed sowing of indeterminate varieties of tomatoes in cocopeat as soilless has many benefits.
“Cocopeat is an excellent substrate for root developments and therefore transplanting can be made directly into the cocopeat with no need for further treatment or agent,” he explains, adding that unlike other soilless cultures, coco holds high air capacity even when completely saturated.
With time, he notes, the cocopeat develops a high buffer capacity that will enable the plants to overcome a short time deficiency of fertilizers and water.
Among other benefits of Cocopeat as an organic material, the environment is not harmed and sowing in cocopeat reduces the problems caused by weeds and the money lost by weeding.
So far, 30 Rwandans have completed the Israeli internship program in horticulture.
By the end of December last 2013, the ministry had sent other 129 Rwandan students to pursue the same internship courses for the sake of boosting Rwanda’s horticulture industry.