Agro-dealers have said that the main challenge facing agricultural production is the delay in distribution of seeds which are mostly imported.
Esperance Nyirahabimana from Rubavu District said farmers recieved seeds two weeks after the planting season had began.
“Delay in planting can have consequences on production. We paid early so that we get seeds, fertilizers and insecticides and distribute them to farmers on time,” said the agro-dealer.
She added that when farmers face losses due to the delay of seeds, fertilisers or pesticides, they are compensated the following season.
Speaking during a business meeting on the issue, Jean Bosco Safari, the CEO of Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organisation (AGRIFOP) confirmed that the delay of seeds was still a major challenge.
“It is difficult to bring seeds from Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, the long journey can damage the seeds. We will sit with agro-dealers and seed multipliers to see what can be done to make seeds available to farmers as early as possible,” Safari said.
Dr Teresphore Ndabamenye, the head of crop intensification at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) said that many varieties of fertilisers were still imported but that there was a plan to start producing them in the country.
In March this year, a local fertiliser blending factory with production capacity of 120 tonnes per day was launched to address the challenge of fertiliser shortage.
Ndabamenye said that seed multipliers will be working with MINAGRI through Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) to develop the research on seeds varieties, especially maize hybrids.
“We expect to have a big number of seed multipliers at provincial level who will be supplying seeds to farmers on time every season,” Ndabamenye said.
He said currently there were about 80 seed multipliers in the country who can work on 1000 hectares.