Rwanda to export rice next year

Rice production may grow from 104 tonnes to 925 tonnes, a 89 percent annual increase in output, agricultural experts project.

Rice production may grow from 104 tonnes to 925 tonnes, a 89 percent annual increase in output, agricultural experts project.

The surplus will be exported.

But Rwanda agriculture Development Authority (Rada) says to achieve the projected output the country needs Frw329.9 billion.

When this money is injected in rice production, the country may earn $175 millions (Frw96 billion) per annum.

Experts in Rada say use of fertiliser, good agronomic practices and appropriate seeds, will push up out put from the current 5 tonnes to 7 tonnes per hectare annually.

The experts were however quick to say, some areas in the country still produce 1.8 tonnes per hectare.

Patrick Hakizimana, the Rada director general says much effort is needed in rice production.

To exploit all the 66.094 hectares allocated for rice production, Hakizimana suggested that all growers have to be trained in modern rice cultivation techniques and be organised in cooperatives. He said with groups, the farmers will access fertilisers, seeds, pesticides and also sufficient infrastructure for handling and processing rice.

Current situation

Despite its importance, rice acreage is small. Out of the estimated total cultivable land of 1.369.600 hectares, only 7.455 hectares representing 0.54 per cent is for rice growing.

Considering that rice crop thrives best in developed flood prone valleys, and in fact presents the best yields in such water logged environment than any other cereal crop, makes the crop an appropriate choice for the Rwandan valleys.

There are up to 66.094 hectares of marshlands that can be exploited for the production of the rice crop. Although 14.911 hectares are cultivable annually that is to say for the two seasons, only 9.708 hectares are cultivated, leaving the 5.204 hectares redundant mainly due to shortage of water. This implies there is need to develop both the existing cultivable marshlands and the virgin ones.

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