KOTEMU Cooperative: A cooperative for farmers to develop


Members of KOTEMU stand with their children in a field of orange fleshed sweetpotato Photo: S. Quinn/CIP. Original story.

We are KOTEMU. In Kinyarwanda this means the Koperative Terimbere Muhinzi (in English it translates to “Cooperative: ‘farmer, develop yourself). We are a farming group and cooperative here in Muhanga District, Rwanda.

We have come together to farm and to try to improve our lives together. We started working as a cooperative farming group a few years ago, growing a range of different crops. In 2010, we started growing orange-fleshed sweet potato with the aim of generating income from it.

We were introduced to orange-fleshed sweet potato farming by a local partner who was working with the International Potato Center’s SASHA project in Rwanda. We started receiving vines and help from an agronomist who provided advice on how to plant, take care of and harvest the crop.

Scaling up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) is a five-year partnership (2013-2018) coordinated by the International Potato Center (CIP) and financed by the UK Department for International Development to spread the nutrition benefits of biofortified OFSP to more farmers.

 The program aims to reach 1.2 million households with children under 5 years across four countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda through mutually-reinforcing incentives to increase adoption of OFSP, consumption of Vitamin-A-rich foods, and diversification of OFSP utilization.