Farmers have been cautioned against planting seeds with short maturity periods.
The advice was given by Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, the deputy director general for research at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) while advising on how farmers can cope during the dry season.
“We have several varieties of short term seeds that can help those people in areas that experience extended dry season. The seeds can take only between 70 and 90 days to harvest. However, the more they mature in a short period of time, the poorer the yields,” Gahakwa said in an interview on Wednesday.
“Farmers in those areas should complement these seeds with seeds that yield more produce and embrace modern agronomic technologies like irrigation so that they can boost their produce,” Gahakwa added.
Seeds that have short term varieties include maize, Irish potatoes, cassava, beans, soy beans among others while areas that experience a protracted dry season are found in the Eastern and Southern provinces.
Jean-Marie Vianney Habumugisha, a farmer in Bugesera District, however said money to buy irrigation equipment remains a challenge.
He said, “We have realised that we get low produce from seeds with short maturity period compared to those growing other seeds. But the challenge we face is that whenever we use seeds that take long to mature they dry before harvesting. We therefore, prefer to plant those with short maturity period as we do not have enough means to buy irrigation equipment ourselves.”
Esdras Biziyaremye, a farmer in Kirehe District appealed for subsidised irrigation equipment so that they can adopt seeds that help them increase their produce.
However, Olivier Sangwa, a mechanisation technician at RAB, said the government already provides subsidies for agriculture machinery including equipment for small scale irrigation scheme.
He said “for anyone who wants to buy agriculture machinery the government provides some subsidies but for those who still can’t afford to buy them with those subsidies, they can lease them as the government pays 18 per cent VAT for those leasing them.”