THIS IS precisely what we have been pressing for. Increased use of more modern farming techniques, land consolidation, crop rotation, better fertilisers and the planting of cover crops to preserve soil nutrients as well as proper matching of crops to soils would raise farm yields many times over.
Was that to be combined with improved extension services, greater crop financing, adoption of more modern farm management practices as well as better linkages to local, national and subregional food markets, the rise in rural incomes and thus the conditions for the development of a modern rural economy would be in place.
Rising rural incomes - where the majority of our population lives - would act as a powerful engine for an all-round and more equitable national economic and social development. What is more, all this is achievable without succumbing to the seductive, but ultimately highly costly adoption of genetically modified crops so assiduously pushed by the multinational chemical (not food) industry.
GMOs (genetically modified foods) are dangerous from a health basis (the science of their long-term effects is still unsettled); commercial consideration (consumers in the world’s largest food market, Europe, are adamantly opposed to what they see as “Frankensteinfoods”.
Even sustained pressure from the US Government to allow unhindered access of such foods on European markets as if they were just another food item has failed; any foods with GMO ingredients must be clearly labeled and consumers shun them.
Were Rwanda to adopt GMO farming, the European markets would become closed to our food exports and even our bio foods would suffer.
And from a food security perspective, we would be handing our seed supply - the most critical factor in growing food - to the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta and Du Pont. This would be tantamount to signing away our independence, since those who control one’s food supply control one’s population, and choices.
Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda
Reaction to the article, “Farmers output increases after training” (The New Times, March 14)