Investors get incentives on agriculture machinery

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) has started offering incentives to private investors to invest in agriculture machinery to curb post harvest losses and improve mechanisation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) has started offering incentives to private investors to invest in agriculture machinery to curb post harvest losses and improve mechanisation. 

The incentives include tax exemption and cost guarantee.

This was revealed by Innocent Nzeyimana, head of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation in the ministry in an interview with The New Times on Wednesday.

“We provide some incentives for those who buy agriculture machinery as to support agriculture mechanisation,” he said.

“For instance, if you import a dryer or agriculture machine you will be exempted from import tax and a 25 per cent subsidy for the total cost plus a 50 per cent guarantee.”

Currently, there are four companies selling agriculture machinery in Rwanda while two others are engaged in leasing the equipment. However, Nzeyimana said there are plans to increase incentives to ease access to machinery.

Apart from mobilisation of the private sector, several activities have been carried out including setting up eight storage facilities with a 65,400 MT capacity, and an animal feed plant being constructed by a private investor in Rwamagana District.

Also, 133,621 farmers have been trained in post harvest best practices in order to minimise post harvest losses.

Other interventions include establishment of 157 drying grounds, 42 warehouses and 4 metallic silos across the country with a total storage capacity of 134,110 MT among others.

Jean Baptiste Habimana, a soya farmer, founder and manager for Umunezero w’ubuzima Ltd, a company that processes soya beans in Nyanza District said post harvest losses emanate from lack of skills.

“We do not have enough skills in handling our produce. I think we start losing part of our produce during the harvesting process until it gets to the consumer,” he said.

According to the ministry, the annual post harvest loss rate stands between 12 and 20 per cent. However, pests and disease also account for the enormous losses.

Meanwhile, according to Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), disease like Late Blight causes 100 per cent yield loss on both potatoes and tomatoes when uncontrolled.

Other diseases said to cause 100 per cent yield loss include Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) and Zanthomanos Wilt (XW) in bananas.

Other crop diseases and pests causing enormous losses include maize stalk bores that cause losses of up to 53 per cent of the produce, striga weed, prevalent in the Eastern Province that causes up to 100 per cent loss, couch grass (digitaria scularum) which is widely distributed in the country and causes large loss if uncontrolled.

For cassava production, the problem according to RAB is the cassava mosaic disease (CMD) which has devastated major growing areas in the country.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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