Rwandan agriculture is still practiced for family provision without a market target of their prospects. This confront has been causing the Rwandan population to remain on the same peak of subsistence farming for several years, where traditional agricultural still remains dominant in rural areas.
Market initiatives only come to farmers after getting surplus from their home food. This farming life is daily influencing the habitual life of farmers since they remain in poverty without any perfection. Traditional farming methods used are not helping much either, in yield improvement that has remain the same step for several years.
As a result, farmers spend most of their time producing without any market strategy and fail to meet the customers need.
The only time they think of marketing is when they grow the same crop and get greater yields than they expected to have. They go to sell the surplus, meet different farmers selling the same product on the market, and at the end of the day, the unit price of the market item is lowered!
A typical example is the experience of sweet potato growers, who produce potatoes for family subsistence.
When the harvest is turns out great, they take it to market places where it is difficult to find customers. At the end of the day, the sellers decide to carry back their potato containers back home; a sheer result of their lack of purpose and market plan before farming.
The fruit and vegetable trade is not spared. These horticultural products are the most preferable foods among humans and animals as well containing essential minerals and vitamins.
Nowadays, due to improper post harvest care, they quickly perish and losses are incurred on the market.
This is expensive, considering the use of high cost materials that most of farmers are not able to get. In market oriented agriculture, you produce according to the customer’s needs considering the quantity and quality--when you have a customer, you harvest and sell to him without delay.
The role of food preservation is therefore transferred to customers, relieving the farmer from the duty to preserve his produce. As long as there is no any targeted customer there is no way to escape losses incurred from perished fruits and vegetables in Rwanda.
The lack of market knowledge leads to unpredicted yield which is not improving the life in rural Rwanda. Farmers need to be informed about market oriented agriculture before farm operation. This is the most preferable way to practice agriculture.
Agricultural experts and advisors need to be deployed in order to overcome problems related to subsistence agriculture. As farmers learn to produce according to the market needs, they can eventually practice improved agriculture and think towards the country’s Vision 2020.
As farmers, the first step in this business is to define the targeted customer, his preferences, and the means available to produce according customer’s needs before going ahead to market their produce.