NGOMA/KIREHE - Farmers in Kirehe and Ngoma districts, and in most parts of the Eastern Province, have expressed scepticism over this season’s crop production, after experiencing unreliable rainfall.
“It was too late to replant in most parts after the rains delayed, Richard Gasasira, a farmer in Ngoma told The New Times yesterday.
“And even in areas where it is possible, there is no guarantee that the rains will last for long.”
Gasasira said that people hesitated to plant maize and beans when the dry spell was prolonged, hence finding themselves in a dilemma.
“We had hoped that food imports this year would be minimal, but the weather has dealt us a big blow and yields are going to be worse than the last season,” Gasasira predicted.
Jean Claude Ndahayo of Nyarubuye Sector, Kirehe District, said that most people started planting crops late when it started raining, and were not sure if the crops will flourish as usual.
“We would say we have lost about half of what we could have harvested, even though there is need to wait a little longer to get a full picture of the damage,” he said.
Benson Muhikira, Kirehe district Vice Mayor in charge of Economic affairs, uttered similar worries, saying that the rains have not been friendly to farmers. He, however, down played the effect on food shortage, noting that there was bumper harvest in the last season.
The official noted that this season doesn’t really offer good harvests in some districts such as Bugesera.
“It is very unfortunate, because most farmers had done their best to prepare their farms and plots. Fertilisers were availed in time and we thus expected bumper harvest…but that is the problem with rain fed agriculture. It is never predictable, “he said.
Rwanda is undergoing through agriculture transformation and has identified five major food crops whose production it would try to triple next year, namely rice, maize, potatoes, Soya beans and beans.
It would also try to increase output of the traditional cash crops; coffee and tea.