How AGRA’s financial support made its quality seed business a success
In 2018, Protais Musanganya, CEO and owner of Top Quality Seed Company contacted the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) after the agricultural company visited farmers and their businesses in the region where Musanganya was operating.
He says that when AGRA and the Rwanda Agricultural Board visited him, they were drawn to his seed multiplication activities and therefore he was in a good position to receive their financial support as he could not get enough of capital to finance his large-scale farming business. .
However, his plans came true when AGRA selected him among the recipients of a financial boost and as an additional opportunity to be trained by RAB.
“AGRA selected me for their support. Initially, the company helped me rent more land, pay staff salaries for a whole year, and buy inputs. Thanks to their support, I have also managed to produce 60 bags of quality seeds from 5 bags in the past.
Musanganya started his business in agriculture in 2017 using only 3 ha of leased land, but now his business is multiplying seeds on 80 ha of land.
He tapped AGRA’s financial support and bought 35 ha of land in Ndego, 20 ha in Ngoma, and the rest of the land is in Rwamagana.
He hopes to harvest 180 and 200 tons of land this season and when he sold multiplied seeds he managed to raise money and reinvested by buying 50 ha of land from his former owner. “Then I had to clear 30 ha of land. I farmed the land and managed to produce 120 tonnes of premium seed.
Musanganya produces premium corn, soybean and bean seeds.
The government of Rwanda also provided him with subsidized fertilizer and irrigation equipment under the subsidy program and he was linked to buyers.
Musanganya says that AGRA’s funding has helped it revive its activities and supported its spending on employee salaries.
“My company employs between 150 and 200 casual workers who work daily on the farms. We pay them their salaries on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Most of the staff salary I pay comes from AGRA.
“My seed multiplication business is important to local communities because it creates jobs. I also equipped 200 local farmers with seed multiplication skills and they are now my sub-cultivators. he adds.
He says that AGRA’s financial support worth 100 million Rwandan francs far exceeded the value of the money he received.
“This support far exceeds the amount of money I have received. As I said, I started this business by renting a plot of 3 ha. Now I own over 50 ha of land which I bought with AGRA support money. “
Although the government subsidizes the provision of certified seeds, Musanganya believes hybrid maize farmers should have skills in the field and exploit the seeds to their potential.
As a result, it has signed agreements with outside producers through which it provides them with technical assistance and purchases their seeds.
“Thus, our company carries out promotion and extension activities (demonstration of varieties, distribution of seed packs, etc.) to promote awareness of new seed varieties and improve crop management. ” he says.
Although he has benefited from AGRA’s partnership, he wants the company to continue to support them.
“Our partnership with AGRA is still ongoing as they run quarterly trainings for our staff, pay agronomists and help us in auditing our activities, but AGRA should continue to help us grow into great companies that will continue to operate even when AGRA’s support is no longer there. He wishes.
Seed processing plant establishment plans
He believes that with the help of AGRA, they will be able to establish a seed processing plant that will prepare their products, dry, treat and label our seeds.
“We took the first steps where we bought land and started negotiating with a company that will build the plant. We are now in the process of acquiring a bank loan which we will invest as part of our business in the plant. he says.
“It will be a joint venture involving three companies. We hope that by next year our factory will produce seeds which will be based in Kayonza. I am also in talks with irrigation technicians to see how we can expand the irrigated area using solar powered irrigation systems. They have carried out a feasibility study and are now at the costing stage. This is the direction that we give to our company with the support of AGRA. he adds.
“As the director of premium seed production, considering where we come from and where we are today, I think our investment will have tripled by next year. I want AGRA’s support to continue as I have made tremendous progress. Of course, I make a profit, but I’m also happy that farmers have access to locally produced seeds.