Last week the State minister for Agriculture, Dr Agnes Kalibata, urged farmers in the Eastern Province to plant crops early so as to ensure good harvests.
In addition, she informed the listeners who included local government officials, agronomists and farmers that through Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), experts from many organisations have been contracted to facilitate distribution of seeds and fertilisers to farmers, and to oversee proper administration.
This is good news for farmers and the country at large, because using modern and smart farming practices will cease being mere talk but the order of farming business.
This means that Rwanda benefits from better seeds because they are higher-yielding and more suited to the conditions here.
Yes, government is getting a lot of revenue from other sectors like tourism, but agriculture remains the backbone of this country’s economy, and therefore efforts to modernise the sector will largely transform the earning capacity of its majority citizens.
It is another break with tradition – a lot of hard work goes into farming, but we get lesser and lesser yields because of poor soils and equally poor seeds.
But when these two important factors are taken care of, then we shall have upped our chances of better food production, thus bettering livelihoods for farmers, and food security for the nation.
Many cultivators have been spending all their energies on poor patches of land, planting local seeds that give pitiful yields.
It is also commendable that there will be experts to show farmers how and when to plant the improved seeds, and also give advice on how to apply the fertilisers in order to make a difference.
There are many well-intentioned projects that die prematurely for lack of expert advice, and so the availability of these officers will be of immense benefit to farmers.
We would also like to hear from the Agriculture ministry of efforts to step up water harvesting and irrigation agriculture, as these will surely be the last intervention in beating fickle climatic changes that are the greatest bane of farming activities.