Fifty four farmers selected from 18 sectors around the country are to be awarded by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) for registering good yields.
This was announced by Cyprien Uwitije, IFDC agribusiness marketing officer, at a one-day farmers’ workshop in Kigali, yesterday.
IFDC, in partnership with Rwanda Agriculture Board (Rab), organised the yield competition in 13 districts across the country.
At least 953 farmers participated and the ones with more yields emerged winners.
The winners will receive prizes, including cash and certificates on October 21, in Nyaruguru District.
Dr Telesphore Ndabamenye, director general, Rab, congratulated the winners and commended IFDC for its role in helping to increase agricultural productivity.
“Without farmers we cannot achieve our development agenda,” Dr Ndabamenye said.
“We want other farmers to learn from this season’s winners and develop farming,” he added.
He noted that government has put much effort in land consolidation to address food insecurity.
“With the country’s Vision 2020, farmers should play a leading role in transforming their welfare,” he added.
Dr Ndabamenye also advised farmers to be keen on acquiring more farming knowledge to improve their trade.
David Gisselquist, the director of IFDC, challenged farmers to improve production techniques by applying fertilisers and micro nutrients like zinc, sulphur and Boron.
“Farmers have skills but need to embrace technology in order to maximise production,” he added.
Emmanuel Birikunzira, a maize grower from Musanze, emerged one of the winners after harvesting 14 tonnes of maize per hectare.
“I cultivated earlier, and this gave me enough time to weed and take care of my maize plantation,” he said.
Joseph Mwangi, a winner from Rwamagana District, also attributed his good yields to early preparations and application of fertilisers. He harvested 12 tonnes per hectare.
“I started preparing my land in January, applied the right amount of fertilisers and perfectly spaced my crops,” he said.
The head of fertiliser programme at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Charles Murekezi, commended the farmers who took part in the competition, and other stakeholders, especially IFDC, for the sponsorship.
“The fact that you have reached this production level helps researchers know what to add and also teach other farmers,” he said.