Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) says that about 20 million cuttings of new cassava varieties are expected to be multiplied on 1000hectares during season 2017A (started in September) and 1000hectares in 2017B (starts in February).
This was announced at a recent meeting in Nyanza District that gathered cassava multipliers, representatives of farmer cooperatives, mayors and agronomists from all districts of the Southern Province.
Speaking to The New Times, Aime Parfait Gasana the head of Rwanda Agriculture Board’s Southern Zone said districts would set up local committees that will oversee the multiplication of varieties and distribution exercise to ensure transparency.
“We are assessing how seed multiplication can be accelerated so that farmers get the varieties within short time as possible. The ministry is preparing new guidelines on cassava growing and seeds use. The prices of cassava varieties cuttings must also be harmonised because they are expensive in certain areas,” he said.
Farmers who are multiplying cassava varieties that are resistant to Cassava Brown streak disease (CBSD) in Southern Province and local authorities have ensured fair distribution of the new cassava varieties so that all cassava growers get clean planting materials.
Cassava multipliers, who previously got new cassava varieties from RAB, must give the same quantity of cuttings to their neighbors free of charge in order to provide all farmers with clean planting materials, according to officials.
The new varieties were multiplied on 875 hectares last season and those who were given the seeds will distribute it to their neighbors for multiplication.
Gasana said the varieties that started to be multiplied in February this year will be available for farmers to be planted in February in 2017.
Minister of agriculture Geraldine Mukeshimana urged both local authorities and the farmers to ensure proper distribution of the new disease resistant cassava cuttings which were expensive to import.
Epimaque Twagirimana, the district vice mayor in charge of finance and economic development in Ruhango District, earlier told The New Times that due to lack of enough cassava supply, Kinazi cassava plant is now importing cassava from Uganda and is operating below its capacity.