Kirehe/Ngoma- Pineapple farmers in Kirehe and Ngoma districts are demanding better prices for their produce.
The farmers complain that their main buyer, Inyange Industries, was not giving them agreeable prices and yet it demands a minimum supply of 40 tonnes of pineapples that they cannot easily produce.
“The factory’s price is discouraging and should be increased to motivate farmers,” Joseph Munyaneza, a farmer, told the Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa on Wednesday. The Minister was in the area to meet farmers.
Munyaneza also appealed to the company to help farmers establish buying centres.
“We are not experts in quality maintenance...pineapples thus lose quality on their way to the factory. It is the farmer to cater for the loss. Public institutions should also be mobilised to buy from us,” he said.
Over 17,000 hectares are under pineapple cultivation in the two districts of the Eastern Province.
Nsanzabaganwa appealed to Inyange Industries to help farmers produce enough pineapples and come up with agreeable prices. She also urged farmers to respect contracts with the buyers.
“You need a collection centre so that you don’t incur transport costs to industries. There should be a compromise on prices too. It is also our duty to protect farmers,” she said.
Promising to meet Inyange Industries over farmers’ concerns, the minister advised farmers to look for another market where they could sell their produce.
“Promoting pineapple growers should be part of Inyange Industries programme,” she advised.