KIREHE/KAYONZA - Prices of crops are reported falling across the Eastern Province, as reports of increased production emerge.
There has been a bumper harvest of maize, sorghum, rice and cassava in Ngoma, Kirehe, and Kayonza districts, following the land consolidation programme.
Farmers have complained that the prevailing prices barely cover their production costs.
For example, a kilogramme of maize is being sold at an average of Rwf80, down from Rwf250 last year.
Benson Muhikira, the Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, Kirehe District, said more farmers used fertilizers last season and accessed high-yielding seeds which led to increased crop yields.
Acknowledging the price decline, he said: “The main challenge after a bumper harvest always is storage and price management”.
He, however, added that local authorities are encouraging farmers to store the excess produce in order to control supply.
Aphrodis Kanuma, an agricultural officer at Kayonza District, reiterated the need for farmers to stock their produce.
He noted that improved yield has not benefited farmers as they are weighed down by the dictates of demand and supply.
“They want to sell all the crops at ago…so, as it is, the higher the supply the lower the prices and vice versa. Until they can stock and wait to supply during scarcity, they cannot make huge profits. There is need to stabilize prices,” he said.
“These farmers planted good seeds and used fertilizers and had a good harvest. Unfortunately, because they cannot stock their harvests, and want to sell immediately, they make losses.”
The increase in food production has however, drastically checked food shortages that characterized some districts in the past, especially Kayonza and Bugesera.