STANDING in the middle of her two-hectare vanilla plantation, Agnes Kokutangaza (57), a resident of Missenyi District's Kilimilile village recounts how the crop has changed her life. A few years ago she was living in a small mud house, but life has changed for the better after switching to vanilla production. Last season he earned about 8m/- from vanilla sales. She is among farmers who formed an Agricultural and Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS). About 5,332 active farmers in Kagera region engage in vanilla production. For many decades farmers in Kagera region depended on a single cash crop-coffee. However, the crop has been devastated by the coffee wilt disease (CWD), while most of the coffee trees are over 60 years old and do not yield much. Lack of inputs and poor management has also aggravated the problem. Vanilla, introduced as an alternative cash crop to the traditional coffee has proved to be a game changer. The government had intervened to help out coffee farmers by ...
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