KARONGI/RUTSIRO- Authorities in Karongi and Rutsiro districts have directed farmers to cut down banana plantations which are deemed non productive, in order to pave way for the land consolidation programme.
Under the land consolidation policy, authorities are encouraging extensive farming of a single crop contrary to the commonly practised mixed farming method.
The decision has however, attracted criticism from farmers who argue that the policy may cause food shortages within their families.
“We have been told to immediately shift to extensive growing of one type of crop at a given time, but we also have misgivings over this new system such as in the event that it does not rain as expected, people will go hungry,” one farmer named Callixte Ndushabandi said.
Ndushabandi who owns over 10 hectares of banana plantations in Karongi maintained that the land consolidation programme though good, it has its own short comings.
“It is not logical for example to cut coffee to plant beans in this case,” he said.
Jean Paul Musabyimana, a coffee farmer in Rutsiro expressed similar reservations, saying the newly introduced crops are bound to fail due to absence of other farm inputs like fertilisers.
“One can be willing to adopt to the change but there are many other fears. These crops demand inputs which are very expensive,” he said.
However, in an interview, Bernard Kayumba, the Mayor of Karongi said that the new farming policy was in the interest of farmers and dismissed fears that the crops could fail.
“We are sensitising the farmers about the programme and making sure that seeds, fertilisers and other inputs are available on time,” he said