Residents of Simbi Sector in Huye District have been called upon to embrace best farming practices, such as the use of artificial fertilisers, in order to improve agricultural productivity.
District officials made the call on Tuesday during the launch of the planting season ‘A’ for 2015/2016 and the Agriculture Campaign Week in Ruhoboba marshland located in Kabusanza Cell in Simbi.
Icyizere Simbi, a local cooperative comprised of 257 members, utilises the 33-hectare marshland. The co-op plans to grow maize in season A and vegetables in season B, which starts in April.
The Huye vice mayor for finance and economic development, Cyprien Mutwarasibo, urged residents to put more effort in agriculture. He also advised them to embrace the use of fertilisers.
“It is noticeable that fertiliser use is still low. You can cultivate a field where you would harvest food worth Rwf100,000 without using fertilisers. However, if you invest Rwf 10,000 in fertilisers, you can harvest food worth Rwf200,000. You would rather cultivate small pieces of land and apply fertilisers to produce more,” he said.
Josephine Mukanyiribambe, the president of Icyerekezo Simbi, told officials that mono-cropping and land consolidation, along subsidised seeds and fertiliser, had raised productivity.
“Before 2000 we used to grow many different crops and it was hard to control or get a market. But now that we are growing the same crop, and even have a maize drying site, we are able to store our produce and sell it at a good price,” she said.
This year, according to district agronomists, new hybrid maize seeds will be planted in the Ruhoboba marshland.
Cansilde Uzamushaka, a farmer in Cyendajuru Cell, Simbi, is hopeful that the new seed variety will increase yields.
“They gave us the new variety after studying and testing it. We hope this new variety will benefit us,” she said.
This financial year, Huye District targets to grow maize on 4,500 hectares of land, up from 4,465 hectares last year. Huye expects to produce 4.5 tonnes of maize produce per hectare. The district also plans to grow beans on 26,500 hectares, cassava on 3,500 hectares, rice on 3,250 hectares and soya on 2,100 hectares this financial year. The district also seeks to increase coffee production from 400 tonnes registered in the last financial year to 450 tonnes this year.