In a long-sleeved shirt and jeans, expertly navigating eastern Rwanda’s bumpy back roads in a white four-wheel drive, Dieudonne Twahirwa looks nothing like the stereotypical African farmer.
The 30-year-old owner of Gashora Farm knows what a difference that makes.
“You need more role models,” he said, standing among knee-high rows of chili plants. “If you have young farmers, they have land and they drive to the farm, (others) think, ‘Why can’t I do that?’”
Twahirwa, a university graduate, bought a friend’s tomato farm six years ago for $150. He made $1,500 back in two months.
“You have to link (farming) with entrepreneurship and real numbers,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Many young Africans are abandoning rural areas, choosing not to toil in the fields — a job made tougher by climate change.
But Twahirwa is one of a growing band of successful farmers working to jazz up agriculture’s image on the continent.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.