Africa News Bulletin

How young entrepreneurs found an opportunity in chia seeds farming

When you come across a duo with the same name doing business together, you are likely to conclude that they are related. However, for Alex Ntambara and Gerald Ntambara, it is only passion that brings them together.

The two met at the University and soon realized that they shared a common passion in agriculture.

The two are agriculture entrepreneurs cultivating chia seeds in Ngoma District, Eastern Province.

For one to make a change, Alex Ntambara believes that all is needed is to do what you like and find different ways to achieve desired results.

If it wasn’t for this, the young passionate entrepreneur said they would have given up a long time ago on their agriculture dream.

In 2018 when they started out pig farming, it didn’t work out, and they opted for farming French beans two years later.

This also didn’t work out as well due to the impact of Covid-19, something that made them take a break from doing anything related to agriculture.

They said that because of this, they took a break from doing any business, to brainstorm on what to do since their source of income had stopped.

“Since our passion in this field was stronger than the challenges, we realized that there is still yet another opportunity for us to prove ourselves that our dreams were more than the current situation we were in,” he said.

Finding opportunity in chia farming

Early last year Alex Ntambara 28 and Gerald Ntambara 30, came up with the idea of growing chia seeds, they grabbed the opportunity because it was a new cash crop on the market, and according to the studies, it is fairly easier to cultivate compared to other cash crops.

Some of the factors considered when choosing chia farming, Alex Ntambara said, were because of the multiple market opportunities it bears.

Secondly, he mentioned that as people who are passionate about agriculture, they wanted to practice and explore more in this field as this is what they studied at school.

“Agriculture has a big impact on the economy and society. By venturing into it, it means we are helping the country to increase its GDP,” he said.

At the moment, they have a farm going by the name Ibwiza Farm specifically for chia seeds, cultivating on 18 hectares.

Since they started, they are now cultivating their second season of chia seeds, which normally has three steps in 3 months. This includes; planting, weeding, and harvesting, and they are now yet to start the last stage, which is the process of harvesting.

How they do it

The two explained that they do contract farming, which means they acquire contracts from potential buyers before they start the whole process of farming.

For instance, they said they have a contract with one of the leading exporters of chia seeds in Rwanda.

Moving forward, the duo’s target is to cultivate at least 100 hectares this year.

Since they started, they have now 2 permanent staff and more than 300 casual workers of which 80 percent are women and 60 percent are youth.

Meanwhile, they cited climate change as the most pressing challenge issue they are facing at the moment.

Original story on The New Times

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