KIGALI - THE government will spend an estimated Rwf 28bn on fertilizers and seeds to help farmers in the country produce bumper harvests this season.
Violet Nyirasangwa, the Programme Manager in charge of supporting producers’ professionalization in the Ministry of Agriculture, made the announcement on Monday during an interview with The New Times.
The funds are part of Rwf 44bn that the ministry had budgeted for this farming season. Rwf 16bn has been earmarked for post harvest activities.
About 25,020 tons of fertilizers will be supplied countrywide for maize alone - 16,680 tons of DAP and 8,340 tons of UREA respectively.
Nyirasangwa added that about 166,800 and 14,968 hectares of maize and wheat respectively will be planted countrywide and that farmers will only meet 50 percent of the cost of the fertilizers, and the government will meet the remaining costs.
“The two crops were rarely grown by farmers in many parts of the country and this subsidy was done to increase production of the crops and ensure food security in the country,” Nyirasangwa said.
About 17,000 tons of NPK 171717 type of fertilizers will also be supplied for rice, Irish potatoes and beans “but for this particular fertilizer, farmers will meet 100 percent of the cost but at subsidized prices.”
To avoid theft of the fertilizers which was rampant in the past, Nyirasangwa said that vouchers will be given to each farmer by a service provider in each district, detailing the kilos supposed to be applied on a patch of land.
“Farmers will have their IDs scanned before they are given vouchers indicating kilos a farmer is supposed to be given depending on the size of the garden,” she said, adding that it’s the voucher that is taken to the supplier in the district and get fertilizers.
Farmers pay cash as they take fertilizers not after harvest like it was previously where the government lost hundreds of millions.
“This process will help us stop the embezzlement of fertilizers, data keeping and also ensure that the fertilizers are given to the right people.”
Service providers were contracted by Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).