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Red Rocks Train Rwandans on Agro-tourism for Sustainable Development

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Since its establishment, Red Rocks Cultural Center has deeply immersed itself in cultural tourism. Furthermore, it has also invested in teaching locals how to turn agriculture into a profitable tourism-oriented venture. More than 70 families residing on the slopes of the volcanoes have benefited from this program.

Consequently, Red Rocks Initiative for Sustainable Development has developed an agricultural program that trains local farmers in protecting endangered indigenous crops while in turn using them for tourism purposes.

The kind of profitable agriculture Red Rocks has embarked on is divided into three groups: seasonal crops, agro-forestry, and protection of herbs, which are crucial in the development of traditional medicine in the country.

Red Rocks Cultural Centers helps farmers access hospitality industries and sell their produce. Additionally, it trains them on the best agricultural practices and helps link agriculture with tourism.

In the agro-forestry area, Red Rocks encourages local farmers to plant and cultivate a variety of trees mixed with other crops. This helps them protect land from devastating natural consequences like soil erosion. It also helps them get firewood, animal feed, and organic fertilizer, among other benefits.

Some trees and herbs that Rwanda has that have been used as traditional medicine are now increasingly becoming rare to find, and consequently, they require protection. Few of these are available in protected natural forest areas, and they are of great importance even for research activities.

To ensure protection of these rapidly disappearing species, Red Rocks Rwanda has initiated a tree nursery to avail seedlings to the local community and contribute to protection of the species in the natural forests.

The tree nursery also serves to explain to the younger generations about these trees and herbs and their capacities of healing various illnesses. Additionally, efforts are made to make them understand how, traditionally, their ancestors used them to treat illnesses.

Also the nurseries serve as a research resource, whereby researchers can learn both Kinyarwanda and scientific names of these herbs and trees and test them to confirm their healing abilities. For instance, Red Rocks has planted Umuko cg umurinzi (Erithrina Abyssinica), Umununu (Ficus Toningii), Kimbazi (Titonia Diversifolia), Ikinetenete (Kolinchoe Integra), Umuravumba (Tetradenia Riparia), Umufumbageshi (Rumex Usambalensis), and Umugeshi (Hagenia Abyssinica), to name but few.

Apart from agro-tourism as a new project, for a long time, Red Rocks has been involved in teaching children drawing and arts related to Rwandan culture and all kinds of games to promote their talents and to keep them busy.

Red Rocks is also specialized in beekeeping, basket-weaving activities, pottery, and banana beer making. And, through the Igihoho Project, the locals use biodegradable materials for tree nurseries, and materials used also serve as manure for the seeds they cover.

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