Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Farmers’ body mired in financial wrangles

At least Rwf10m is alleged to have been embezzled at Rwanda Organic Agriculture Movement (Roam), as members accuse top leadership of financial mismanagement.

About 50 companies and cooperatives under Roam, last week, met to discuss the issues of the farmers involved in organic farming, but they were later dispersed by Police over illegal assembly. 

The members blame the committee for the woes in Roam. 

“I was surprised to find my name on a list that I had received Rwf500,000 at an expo last year, yet I only got Rwf90,000,” said Augustine Ngabonziza, an organic farmer from Kirehe district.

Jean Marie Irakabaho, the owner of POSTAD Company, also involved in organic farming, says the committee should call a general assembly to address the issues.

“We’ve been calling for a general assembly in vain,” he said. 

Rwanda Organic Agriculture Movement was founded in 2007. It has partners both from within and outside the country.

HervĂ© Bouagnimbeck, the Africa representative of International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements, said such wrangles exist in other EAC countries, and  urged the members to look for solutions.

The vice president of Roam, however, refuted the allegations of financial mismanagement. 

The conflict at Roam is said to have erupted in December, last year, when members complained of poor access to funds. 

Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board, said he is aware of the crisis at Roam, but believes the members can settle it. 

“They elected the audit and mediation committees on which we based to give them a licence and, so they should strengthen internal mechanisms to solve their wrangles,” Shyaka said.


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