OPINION:Government should invest more in horticulture

The whole idea to invest is about making money and creating a change in the society. With our traditional culture and modern techniques horticulture would be the best key to unlock economic development.

The whole idea to invest is about making money and creating a change in the society. With our traditional culture and modern techniques horticulture would be the best key to unlock economic development.

Every one would wish or want to invest and reap big sums of profits but the major challenge has been a start up capital.

One wouldn’t need to hire experts to grow beans in his or her shamba. All one needs is to know the best crop for which type of land.

A Chinese technology called JUNCAO now used in Rwanda allows mushrooms to be cultivated in small spaces, and even inside houses.

Their short growing cycle means that they can be harvested several times a year, thereby giving a greater and faster return than any other plant grown.

One important reason as to why some one would invest in horticulture is that labour is cheap and abundant and this contributes much to the improvement of people’s lives especially low income earners.

All we need is to shift from traditional ways of farming to modern ways.

Depending on the population of Rwanda horticulture is the best investment.

This is because it gives high yields and high value per unit area.

Horticulture can also help African countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially to be able to halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day, or halve the number suffering from hunger by 2015.

Horticulture is the major source of rich nutrition and it can also reverse infant mortality rate As the country advocates for export diversification, horticulture would be the potent key and also in commercialization of rural areas and women empowerment.

A fund was launched last year to help private companies to improve their competitiveness in domestic and export markets.
A basket of Rwf150 million was created to this effort. Rwanda has a potential to produce and compete on an international market because our products are organic.

Why is it that that only five local companies produce for export yet we have heard many success stories saying Rwandan products are of high quality.

Rwanda had secured market for Rwandan organic products like cow gee, passion juice, honey and pepper but the market could not be fed with both quality and the quantity produced remained insufficient.

We have also heard how Europeans are found of bananas from Rwanda.

This is partly because they are of high quality. A kilogram of the bananas is sold at Euros 4 (about Frw3, 387), 30 times more than the current market price in Rwanda.

The local companies include East African growers exporting French beans, Rwanda Flora-exporting flowers, Floris- sweet bananas, Shekina and Sorwatom which export vegetables.

According to a baseline survey conducted across the country by RHODA horticulture production in August was 309,171 tonnes of vegetables including French beans, tomatoes, cabbages, onions, carrots, eggplants and leeks.

Rwandans are still challenged by standards and the potential to sustain the market.

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