Agricultural intensification to benefit small-scale farmers

Half of the money allocated to the agriculture sector in the 2011/12 financial year will be spent on increasing productivity in the sector, with 100,000 agronomists expected to undergo training.  The activities also include increasing capacity on every 500 hectares through land consolidation and irrigation.

Half of the money allocated to the agriculture sector in the 2011/12 financial year will be spent on increasing productivity in the sector, with 100,000 agronomists expected to undergo training. 

The activities also include increasing capacity on every 500 hectares through land consolidation and irrigation.

The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, said the agronomists will ensure land is consolidated, seeds are available and farmers have access to inputs.
“All these would have a huge impact on yield,” she said. 

Agriculture is one of the treasury’s priority areas of expenditure to increase productivity.  Government spending on agriculture will increase by five percent to Rwf67.1b in the 2011/12 budget from Rwf64.4b in 2010/11.

“100,000 technicians or service providers will be trained for two weeks before the season begins,” Kalibata said in telephone interview. The agronomists will be attached to different areas including irrigation, post harvest management and access to input with a specialised team to make a follow up in each sector.

According to Kalibata, farmers will benefit from the whole process of crop intensification since they will be equipped with knowledge about soil quality and types of crops suited in particular areas.

“Crop intensification, land registration exercise will ease the mechanisation process but benefit farmers more because it builds their confidence,” she said.

As government shifts from subsistence farming, mechanisation centres will be established in 20 villages to facilitate commercialised agriculture in an attempt to ensure food security and price stability to promote sustainable growth.

Government scaled up efforts to increase agricultural productivity through the crop intensification program with the national annual average fertiliser usage reaching 30 kilograms per hectare last year from six kilograms in 2006.

Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, during his budget speech to parliament last week said about 4,500 hectares will be developed for irrigation while another 2,000 hectares will be protected from soil erosion.  

The funds will also be used to construct what the Minister called last mile roads to connect farmers to market places.

Ends 

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