KIGALI - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, yesterday, appeared before a joint parliamentary session to present the current status of agricultural production in the country, and strategies in place to boost the sector.
Makuza told the lawmakers that country’s priorities in the agricultural sector include, crop intensification, irrigation, improving post-harvest activities, livestock improvement, and export promotion.
“Since the introduction of the crop intensification programme, there has been a big impact on maize, potatoes and cassava production while the production of wheat, rice and beans has been moderate,” he said.
According to the Premier, Rwanda was food secure and the government has concrete plans to sustain this security.
Regarding marshland exploitation with regards to rice production, Makuza said that the country needs to produce about 57,000 tonnes annually, but there is still a deficit of 20,000 tonnes.
“The current construction of Muvumba Irrigation Schemes alone, will yield 21,000 tonnes of rice annually which will cater for the deficit,” he said.
Rwanda has set up a food basket programme as a projected long term food security measure, Makuza told the legislators.
The Prime Minister added that currently, 87 % of all arable land is sustainably managed against soil erosion, mainly through terracing.
He added that the government intends to reduce post-harvest losses, increase storage capacity including establishing strategic reserves and linking farmers to markets.
“So far, a taskforce was set up to support farmers set up post harvest infrastructure across the country. Construction of storage facilities in all major crop intensification programme areas is underway,” he said.
Currently the National strategic reserves now stand at 10,000 metric tonnes.
Regarding livestock improvement, particularly cattle stocking, Makuza said that so far 108,825 cows have been distributed under the one cow per family programme while 42,750 have been artificially inseminated.
“The target for 2011/2012 is to inseminate 75,000 cows,” said Makuza.
Following his presentation, several MPs and Senators said they were satisfied with the performance of the agricultural sector.