THE Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) has assured farmers across the country of timely provision of high quality and appropriate varieties of seeds for the coming season.
This comes after farmers, especially maize growers and some local leaders, raised complaints about unproductive seeds that were distributed in the previous seasons.
Speaking to The New Times, Norbet Sendege, the Director General of RADA, noted that some seeds realised low yields, not because they were of bad quality, but because they were not planted in appropriate areas.
“It was a question of confusion. For example, in Muhanga District, maize seeds that were designated for low altitude areas were planted in high altitude which rendered them unproductive,” Sendege said.
“We are carefully considering all factors that may cause losses to farmers, including that of altitude.”
Sendege also noted that they have started the process of compensating farmers who experienced losses due to such errors.
Muhanga District in the Southern Province was most affected, with 100 hectares of maize which yielded nothing and this mainly happened during the just concluded 2010 A and B agriculture seasons, according to the Province Governor Fidel Ndayisaba.
In a phone interview, Ndayisaba called upon agriculture officials to carefully examine seeds and their specific growing zones before distributing them to the farmers.
“If they commit the same mistake again, they should be held accountable,” he noted, adding that they discussed the issue with officials from the Agriculture Ministry.
Acknowledging cases of some maize seeds that take longer to mature, Ndayisaba advised agriculture authorities to always inform farmers about seed details prior to planting.
RADA has started distributing seeds- mainly maize and beans - to farmers across the country for the 2011 first agriculture season.
The exercise is expected to end with this week according to Sendege.