Rwanda Defence Forces’ maize production is expected to reach a record high 2,000 tonnes this year.
This was disclosed during the launch of the harvest, an event that attracted Ministers Agnes Kalibata (Agriculture) and James Kabarebe (Defence) yesterday.
The maize fields are located in Gabiro, Nyagatare District.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this year was one of the best in terms of maize production in the country.
Dr Kalibata said the bumper maize production demonstrated that Nyagatare could be the food basket of the country.
“This is one of the districts with the potential to feed the nation. We will do everything to realise high food production,” she said.
“This increase in production will be enough to cover the local needs. The surplus will be for exports. Our aim is total food security which we are not far from achieving.”
Recent years have seen a phenomenal increase in maize production, mainly attributed to the introduction of high-yielding and drought-resistant varieties.
The land area devoted to maize production in Gabiro has also increased significantly to 664 hectares, which employs at least 2,000 people.
“We will in the future employ innovative irrigation techniques more strategically using Akagera River,” Dr Kalibata said.
Minister Kabarebe said RDF needed some basic equipment to help in harvesting and post harvest management.
“We need harvesting machines and technical assistance to manage the bumper production. We want to maintain the quality of the maize until it is sold,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, the defence and military spokesperson, said after RDF ensured peace for citizens, it embarked on development activities, including ensuring food security.
He said RDF was also growing cassava on large scale in Gako, Bugesera District, that the Force will supply to Kinazi mill.
“We will go for full scale agriculture mechanisation with tractors and helicopters to apply fertilisers and spray insecticide,” Gen. Nzabamwita said, adding that RDF has large cattle and pig farms, whose produce will exceed the local demand.
“Isonga cattle farm and Kicukiro piggery are doing great…we shall soon start serving foreign markets with milk and pork.”