KIGALI - The National Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) will by February next year, have harvested over 1,000 tonnes of maize and 2,000 tonnes of Irish potato seeds, a target the Ministry of Agriculture set for the institute.
According to Dr. Claver Ngaboyisonga, the Director of Scientific Research at ISAR, the institute has put in place different measures to ensure that both the quantity and quality of seeds required is attained.
“In addition to planting these crops on our research stations, we have also involved farmers’ associations in various parts of the country,” Ngaboyisonga said.
Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, recently gave a financial boost of Rwf 500m to ISAR to directly get involved in seed production as one of the measures to fight the shortage of maize and Irish potato seeds.
According to Ngaboyisonga, farmers have in the past, been short of seeds, forcing the Ministry of Agriculture to look for ways of producing more.
“We managed to plant 460 hectares of maize and 152 hectares of Irish potatoes and from that, we expect to surpass the target,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of Urugaga Imbaraga-one of the farmers associations working with ISAR, Joseph Gafaranga, said there is need to sensitize farmers on the importance of monoculture.
“Farmers need to be informed on how profitable it is to deal with one crop at a time, this will help them join our efforts to work towards a common goal,” Gafaranga.
The institute will provide high quality maize of the type ISAR H.071 suitable on highlands, and Irish potato seeds commonly known as Kirundo, Kinigi and Kikungu.