Agriculture stakeholders in the country have been challenged to work closely to boost crop productivity as Season B of the year approaches.
Dr Telesphore Ndabamenye, the head of crop production and food security at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) made the call at a meeting in Kigali last week.
The meeting was organised by RAB to evaluate Season A and prepare for Season B scheduled to start on February 15.
Different agricultural stakeholders from RAB, Agriculture ministry, fertiliser importers and seed companies among others attended the meet.
They shared experiences on challenges faced in the last season.
Ndabamenye said increasing crop productivity requires close partnership of all stakeholders and the use of quality seeds and fertilisers.
“Good seeds without fertilisers remain unproductive. The use of fertilisers only without good seeds also is another problem. Both are required to ensure increased crop productivity. Fertiliser dealers should cooperate among themselves as well as with farmers,” he said.
Ndabamenye called for sensitisation of farmers on the use of fertilisers.
“During this upcoming season we want farmers to focus on wheat seeds. Last season, we had various challenges, including insufficient seeds of soja but we should solve it. We appreciate the yields from last season despite several challenges. Season B requires every stakeholder to make efforts to increase productivity,” Ndabamenye said.
Ndabamenye attributed rising food prices to increased demand.
A combination of challenges faced in last season that started September last year, were highlighted.
These ranged from prolonged drought in some areas due to climate change, insufficient seeds of some crops as well as poor knowledge of fertilisers, and mismanagement.
Celestin Bugingo, the president of Agro dealers in Kirehe District, asked RAB to extend seed stocks closer to farmers.
Ange Ngabonziza, the head of a fertiliser traders cooperative in Karongi District, said they experienced decrease in crop productivity due to prolonged drought and delay of seed distribution, among others.
He urged fertiliser importers and seed companies to ensure timely distribution to overcome the challenges.
Innocent Twizerimana, the head of a fertiliser traders cooperative in Musanze District, urged RAB to work closely with fertiliser importers and seed companies to establish a relationship where cooperatives can distribute seeds and fertilisers to farmers on time.
Under crop intensification programme, the government has prioritised the production of maize, wheat, rice, Irish potatoes, beans and cassava to improve food security and incomes.