Farmers tipped on food security

Rwanda has enough food to feed its population, the Minister for Agriculture has said.
Minister Kalibata with some farmers during the World Food Day on Friday in Ngororero District.   The New Times/ Susan Babijja.
Minister Kalibata with some farmers during the World Food Day on Friday in Ngororero District. The New Times/ Susan Babijja.

Rwanda has enough food to feed its population, the Minister for Agriculture has said.

She was speaking during the celebrations to mark World Food Day on Friday in Ngororero District.

“Although food crop production dropped by two per cent, according to last year’s gross domestic product figures, and food inflation has been rising, we are not food insecure. The drop in GDP contribution could have been due to other factors such as the prolonged drought experienced in the second season of the year,” Agnes Kalibata said.

She attributed food security in the country to government’s support in increasing investment in farm inputs, land consolidation, fertilisers and role of extension workers.

According to the 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, Rwanda is ranked among the top 10 countries that have had the most improved GHI in the last 23 years. 

Rwanda has reduced its GHI score by more than 50 per cent. 

Other countries reported to have had similar success on the continent are Angola, Ghana, Malawi, and Egypt.

The implication of the GHI score is that there has been a significant reduction in the proportion of the population that is undernourished, the proportion of children under weight, and the proportion of children dying before 5 years of age.

According to the minister, most progress in this reduction has happened since 2005.

Highlights of the celebrations were marked by inspection of banana plantations, beans, maize, and vegetable and other gardens in Nyange and Ngororero sectors.

“Farmers have also followed the good agricultural methods, because the gardens we have visited are impressive which indicates the growth in agriculture,” she said.

The event was marked under the theme, “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”.

Households were encouraged to use organic manure, prepare balanced diet to avoid malnutrition and plant fruit trees.

Attaher Maiga, an official from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said the UN agency will join efforts with other stakeholders in the fight against malnutrition among children

“We celebrate the achievements made towards food security and efforts to end world hunger, we work in solidarity to create and spread the political will that promotes nutritious food for everyone in Rwanda and Africa as whole,” he said.

He said Rwanda’s food security is due to improved agriculture and the fact that people are willing to cope with new farming systems.

The objective of World Food Day is to also allow FAO member states to evaluate the progress of agriculture programmes implementation and to chart ways to achieve the overall goal of food security.

During the celebrations, Alphonse Munyaneza, a farmer was awarded with a motor cycle for embracing modern agricultural methods.

Munyaneza said a bunch of banana from his banana plantation weighs 75kg.

“I get one jerry can of banana juice from one bunch yet previously it was about 10 bunches for one jerry can,” he said, advising other farmers to embrance modern farming.

 

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