RUTSIRO – Maize farmers in Rutsiro District, dissatisfied with last season’s yields, are blaming the district for allegedly forcing them to cut down their banana plantations, to focus on maize production.
“From the banana plantation, I would get some income to support my children in school. Now they are languishing at home because the maize I was forced to plant did not yield good results,” Théophile Musabyimana, one of the disgruntled farmers said.
Traders at Gihango market, the biggest market in the district were not any happier when The New Times visited them.
The market looks abandoned with only a few agricultural products whose prices have also significantly risen.
When The New Times contacted Damascene Nsanzimfura, the district vice Mayor in charge of Economic Development, he insisted that farmers were ordered to cut down their banana plantations because they were unproductive after being attacked by diseases.
“The Ministry of Agriculture had directed that we destroy all the affected holdings before the deadly disease could spread elsewhere,” he said.
Almost 300,000 residents who live in Rutsiro district depend on subsistence and mixed farming.