22-year-old student pioneers hydroponic farming in Rwanda

Many students go to university but few think about creating businesses that can even help them afford some basic needs at school.  

Marie Aline Iraguha, a 22-year-old young female student currently second year African Leadership University, has beaten the odds by founding AliFarms Group Ltd, an agribusiness that focuses on growing fruits and vegetables with the mission of empowering youth through sustainable agriculture.

Currently, she is in trials of investing in hydroponic farming technology with fruits and vegetables. “I always wanted to do something I like but at the same time giving back to my community, so I found my passion in agriculture,” she said. In 2017, she came up with the idea of hydroponic farming and started to exploit all opportunities that can enable her. That is why she participated in an international student competition called Hult Prize whose theme was “Harnessing the lives of 1,000,000 people with an innovative idea which can bring impact”.

“So I was so interested to join the competition and I looked back to see one of the challenges in our society. So due to the fact that the population of Africa is rising day after day, we need food to survive, yet the land of agriculture is reducing because of buildings,” she explained.

“In 2018, I did my first hydroponic system where we grew lettuce and it was very successful as it was our first prototype for proof of concept. In 2021, I built the second system where we grew Strawberries and the purpose was prior to investment,” she said. So far she has grown lettuce and strawberries adding there are other kinds of crops that can be grown like; tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watercress, spinach, celery and some herbs.

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