KIGALI - The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has disclosed intentions to set up storage facilities to cater for bumper harvests. Farmers have been incurring losses as a result of producing yields that exceed demand during the harvest season.
This was disclosed yesterday during a meeting which brought together MINAGRI officials and partners to discuss the overall performance in the agricultural sector.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the Minister of Agriculture, said that mitigating post-harvest losses is the government’s main focus as a way of ensuring the ability of the agricultural sector to satisfy the country’s increasing food and energy needs.
“We still incur huge losses in our harvests due to improper or inefficient storage and handling of our harvests,” she said
Kalibata added that, her ministry is planning to install drying facilities for the produce under the Crop Intensification Programme (CIP), as well as setting up 12 silos at national level.
During the meeting, Kalibata said that there should not be any concerns over food insecurity. She, however, said that more should be done to ensure that the surplus is sent to the market.
Among the measures she said government has taken to guarantee food security, include ensuring that farmers get fertilizers, seeds and other farming materials at very subsidized prices.
Speaking to The New Times, Loraine Ronchi, World Bank’s Senior Economist on Agriculture and Rural Development, appreciated the government’s effort to improve the agricultural sector.
“Efficient technologies that encompass efficient crop handling, storage, processing, transportation, marketing and utilization need also to be enhanced,” she noted.
“These kinds of technologies reduce food losses, add value to crops, facilitate efficient trade, generate employment and new products for the market and provide diversification of food.”