Potato farmers will from now on pay Rwf603 for a kilogramme of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) 17-17-17 fertilizer, government announced Tuesday. The development means farmers will be paying 30 per cent less than the Rwf882 they were parting with under a subsidy arrangement rolled out in January. The development was announced on October 25, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. Currently, the Government covers the biggest percentage of fertilizers’ cost. Part of the Ministry’s statement on the distribution NPK 17-17-17 concerns the selected farmland area for potato farming in the agriculture season A of 2023. The set price takes effect immediately and is applicable until January 31, 2023. With the subsidy, a farmer will pay Rwf603 a kilogramme of the NPK 17-17-17 fertilizers, or 39.4 per cent less than the initial Rwf1530 they were paying without the subsidisation. This implies that the Government will pay Rwf927 (or 60.5 per cent of the total cost) in subsidy on a kilogramme. Based on the prices that were set in August 2022, the Government subsidy announced on Tuesday is higher than the Rwf648 it was covering for every kilogramme, in support to farmers. According to the instructions, the Minister of Agriculture set the new price and subsidy based on several factors including the Government’s crop intensification programme which seeks to increase farm produce through the use of agricultural inputs including quality seeds and chemical fertilizers. Another consideration is the Government’s plan to increase agricultural production in the current agriculture season (2023 A), with a view to tackle the rising food prices. Prices of potatoes on the market were on the rise, with consumers paying as much as Rwf600 a kilogramme in the City of Kigali. They even reached Rwf500 a kilogramme of potatoes in major producing areas of the country such as Musanze District - a situation that was observed for the first time in history according to the district dwellers. Reasons cited by the farmers for the increase in potato prices include the high costs of production, mainly linked to high prices of fertilisers and seeds. For the potato farmers to get the Government subsidised fertilizers, they register at their respective sector offices, by indicating their full address and the amount of fertilizers they need. Meanwhile, in the current fiscal year, the Ministry of Agriculture intends to spend Rwf56.8 billion on overall seeds and fertilizer subsidies in order to support the crop intensification programme (CIP) implementation. Under the national budget, the project has been allocated Rwf36 billion in subsidy (consisting of Rwf5.16 billion on seeds and Rwf30.84 billion on fertilisers), but it is expected that the remaining amount could be disbursed during the budget revision. Among the targeted activities under this project, there is distributing over 3,430 tonnes of quality seeds, 50,179 tonnes of fertilisers amid the rising costs of this farm input, as well as 37,736 tonnes of lime with Government subsidy, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture. In April this year, Prime Minister, Edouard Ngirente told parliamentarians that the average fertiliser use in Rwanda rose from 32 kilograms per hectare in 2017 to 60 kilograms per hectare in 2021.