Nicholas Hitimana

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2012
Ikirezi Natural Products


This profile was prepared when Nicholas Hitimana was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Nicholas is working to build a vibrant and competitive agricultural sector in Rwanda by providing subsistence farmers with the skills and support needed to become viable commercial farmers with a unique competitive advantage in both crop type and production method. Nicholas- through his organization, Ikirezi- has introduced essential oil crops to the market, which generate a higher return than the more commonly grown colonial cash crops of tea and coffee. Nicholas is also providing farmers with hands-on training in organic farming practices, a farming method that drives up the premium of this new cash crop in the marketplace. Ikirezi’s model farms serve as both an example of successful commercial organic farming and a learning hub for farmers looking to improve their productivity and livelihoods. Nicholas has created support systems that focus on improving individual productive capacity without removing the farmers’ ability to pursue matters of collective interest. Nicholas has, as a part of this system, created an extension service that employs agricultural experts to help these farmers eventually make the transition from subsistence to commercial farming at the household level.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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