On and off the road

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I’ve been on and off the road much of the week driving up to the Ugandan border and back down to Kigali. Unfortunately, I didn’t use the camera as much as I had hoped. I took the shot above on a rainy day, through a muddy windscreen on an iPhone as we made our way along the mostly excellent roads towards Musanza. The province marks the beginning of volcano country on the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One thing you cannot fail to notice whenever you travel into the Rwandan countryside is how every square inch of available land is given over to growing bananas, beans, cassava, plantains and plenty more, including mushrooms. The latter appear to be a part of a mushroom powered plan to eradicate poverty,

“The project suits Rwanda. The country requires crops that can be planted on small space but with high yield per square metre,” [Jeannine Umfuyisoni, head of the mushroom project, (Rada) said].

She was meaning the hilly nature of the land, battered by soil erosion and suffered loss of nutrients but heavily settled that requires that the population starts intensive farming.
A kilogramme of mushrooms that used to be traded at Frw2,000 in Kigali supermarkets appreciated by Frw1,000. While the price of mushroom tubes has doubled from the previous Frw150-last year.

“It will not only be a solution to poverty, but also a revolution of nutritional needs in the country, children will no longer suffer from kwashiorkor. Their parents can now afford cheap proteins,” she said. link

Although “thousands of farmers” are now interested in mushroom farming, according to the February, 2008 article above, it’s still difficult to find mushrooms for sale in the capital. In my experience, they only occasionally appear on the supermarket shelves. You’re more likely to cadge your fungi from a basket balanced upon the head of a street seller.

Unfortunately, street selling is illegal in Kigali and finding a reliable, regular source on the streets is hit and miss. They do exist, but don’t seem to keep to regular beats or times of day. However, in my experience at least, the quality of the vegetables and fruits on sale are better than in the supermarkets.

Photo taken from the Kigali Wire Mobypicture account

2 Responses to “On and off the road”

  1. Arjay says:

    Is that Chinese-constructed road still in good nick? An example of foresight as China invested in development friends around the continent some years ago.

  2. kigaliwire says:

    TBH – I’m not sure who built the main roads in Rwanda – I must find out as apart from the odd pothole here and there, they are pretty good. If, as I suspect, they were foreign built then long term maintenance could be a problem. I’ve seen holes “maintained” by being filled with mud and stones…