EATSERN PROVINCE - Farmers in Rwamagana district have taken up to growing tobacco after realising that the traditional beans and banana crops were fetching less income.
An emerging group of tobacco growers are currently harvesting the second season tobacco leaves.
Sildio Siboniyo, 27, a farmer growing beans of his one-hectare farm says he will replace the beans with tobacco come next season.
“Growing beans has been nothing but trouble; I have to try tobacco next season,” he said.
Siboniyo is not the only disillusioned farmer in the district. He is among a growing band that has come to realize that there is no cash in growing beans.
Jean Maniraho, 48, a former beans grower now involved in tobacco growing, said that there was need to diversify agriculture production, so as to go for profitable crops.
“No cash in beans: Rwanda’s bean growers have been harvesting losses for a long time. Tobacco is the alternative we have opted for in the mean time”.
The farmers who still use the rudimental system of drying tobacco leaves, say they earn a lot of money compared to what they used to get in bananas or beans’ sales.
“Each leaf goes for Rwf 30; now count how many I have for instance on this bicycle and multiply.
The difference is huge…all we need is government assistance so that we start scientific tobacco production,” he said.