Like other agricultural summits before it, last week’s 2020 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2020) reiterated the need for the African continent to be food secure and highlighted multiple avenues to the ideal scenario.
Among the mechanisms that have been touted as a sure avenue towards the aspirations and goals of a food sufficient continent is the adoption of use of fertilizers as well as scaling up the use of modern technology.
Closer home, as we continue scaling up the use of fertilizers and technology, recent history shows that there are some other key challenges that are yet to find permanent solutions and probably require more attention.
As the country enters Agriculture Season A 2021 despite fewer rain expected in the short run, some sectors in the country continue to be prone to flooding and erosion which washes away (literally) the efforts of farmers.
In previous rainy seasons, farmers in Gisagara District in Southern Province as well as Kanama and Nyundo sectors (Sebeya) in Rubavu District have been victim to rains.
The irony is that farmers are known to wait for rains.
Such setbacks continue to reduce the growth chances of rural farmers and other players in the agriculture value chains putting ambitions of food security in jeopardy.
The status quo is also bothersome, more so at a time when the country has unveiled grand plans for value addition of agriculture products with some industries already setting up shop in the country.
However, in recent years, some of the food processors in the country noted that they often have to import produce from across the region to keep their machines running.
While it is understandable that the problems cannot be wished away or solved in a few months, weather seasons are largely predictable which should allow for planning and remedy initiatives that could affect farmers’ productivity and food security.
As the agriculture season sets in with certainty that short rains are on the way, not all farmers are certain of a harvest.
As resources are allocated to mechanization and latest fertilizers, reducing vulnerability against weather elements should not be forgotten.