It is exactly 9.30am Rwanda time on a cloudy Monday morning in Matimba sector, Nyagatare District. Though it threatens to be a long rainy day, people around this small but busy town seem to be on a high schedule of the day…some are opening their retail boutiques while others head to different destinations as they seem to have planned.
Sam Rubagumya at his farm in Rwentanga Cell
Through a busy high way road that connects traders from Uganda through Nyagatare to Kigali, with a mixture of pedestrians and motorists crossing over, I take a motor bike and ride about four Kilometres away from Matimba town. My destination is in Rwentanga Cell.
On my arrival, the first thing that attracts me is a beautiful and extensive green valley. My first sight is whether the green colour that harbours this valley is made of well-sized savannah trees! Instead, on looking properly, it is a 400-hectares valley filled with high-breed maize plantations.
On my side comes an ageing but a seemingly looking energetic man. He greets me with a smile before I pay attention to talk to him. On our introduction to each other, his names are Sam Rubagumya, a model farmer who has caught people’s attention for his long profession in the farming sector.
For the first time to meet Sam Rubagumya, you would describe him as an ordinary citizen with no sounding income.
However, among the 400 hectares of high-breed maize in the valley, part of its 50 hectares is owned by Sam Rubagumya where he grows maize and Soya bean.
“I own 50 hectares in this valley where I grow Maize and Soya. Modern farming is not a profession I have just started today. It is a practice I have been involved in for the last 27 years. I started it while in exile in Uganda until I returned back to my country and resumed the practice in 1995,” says Sam Rubagumya as he gives me a guided tour around his farm.
Employing local residents to reduce the level of unemployment in the area
Around Rubagumya’s farm you find a big number of casual workers. They work in different departments like weeding and irrigation.
According to Rubagumya, he employs them to work in his farm as part of contributing to government’s campaign to reduce unemployment as well as changing the welfare of citizens.
“They (residents) work at my farm to earn a living but also help me in terms of cheap labour. I employ over fifty workers and pay them their wages on a daily basis. This helps me use casual labour as they are stationed nearby as well as helping them to earn a living,” he says.
According to Rubagumya, his workers earn wages in ranges according to hours worked for.
“A casual worker working 6 hours earn wages worth Rwf800 a day while the one working 9hours earns Rwf1000.”
One of residents working at the maize plantation farm of Sam Rubagumya, Rwentanga Cell- Matimba Sector
Residents of Matimba and Musheri sectors that border with Rubagumya’s farm hail his immense contribution to their welfare.
“I started working in his maize plantation in 1999. Since then, I have been assured of a daily earning because of his persistent farming profession. I earn Rwf1000 a day and this income helps me to feed my family,” Said Claudine Mukabarisa, one of the casual workers at the farm.
High yields in farming
Sam Rubagumya is a living example to those who think farming is not a profitable profession.
The model farmer testifies that modern farming is always profitable once practiced intelligently.
“It only requires one’s commitment and time to prepare your farming season. Once you follow these procedures, there is no way you will not benefit from the fruits of your sweat,” asserts Rubagumya.