The goals of the ASYV farm are to provide food for the Village (over 35% of the food consumed comes from the ASYV farm), offer students hands-on, educational opportunities in farm work and methodology, and to support the Village financially through harvest sales. A variety of crops are produced in the ASYV farm including Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplant, squash, green beans, tomatoes, pineapple, watermelon, beans, peanuts, bananas, avocados, coffee, plantains, cabbage, and mangoes. Furthermore, the Village has over 15 Friesian cows that produce over 75 liters of milk a day for the students’ breakfast porridge. Every Saturday morning, the ASYV students work on the farm in order to gain valuable hands-on experience. Over 80% of the population in Rwanda is dependent on agriculture. With the skills our kids gain at the ASYV, they will be able to help bring modern farming techniques to the Rwandan population.
Recently, we caught up with Jimmy Ndatimana, our Farm intern to find out more about his journey through the Village.
"I come from the Ruhango district in the southern province of Rwanda. Before arriving at the ASYV, I lived with my two brothers. Initially, my eldest brother acted as head of my household but I was required to take over that responsibility after he was poisoned and consequently suffered mental health issues. It was my duty to look after both him and my younger brother, Louis
In order to provide for my family, I began using the small amount of land we had to cultivate crops that I would later sell at our local market. I’d grow rice, beans, cassava and Irish potatoes. Sometimes, I would also purchase small livestock such as chickens and then sell them on for a small profit. I'd also use some of the produce to feed the family.
I arrived at the Village in 2012, joining the Ingenzi grade which recently graduated. I noticed that there were plenty of opportunities here to learn new skills in farming through the environment club and agriculture professional skills program. It was through these programs that I gained expertise on how to successfully cultivate a plot of land. During my time in the Village, I initiated a number of projects which included growing crops that had never before been cultivated on the land here.
Soon, I became elected the class representative of the agriculture professional skills program and was selected as an advisor to kids in the environment club.
After graduating, I was appointed as the Farm intern with the responsibility of overseeing all workers that tend to the crops and livestock within ASYV’s premises. I’m also developing new projects including the cultivation of passion fruit. Furthermore, I am in charge of organizing all farm activities which take place every Saturday morning.
When my internship here has finished, I plan to study agriculture at university in order to enhance my knowledge and experience. Eventually, I’d like to manage my own farm and sell my produce to larger consumers. For now, I am using all of the skills I learned at ASYV to make the most of what I currently have - growing banana trees, rice, and maize on my small farm back home."
Submitted by Leigh Woods, Village Fellow 2016