RUSIZI- The Ministry of Trade and Industry has announced a new set of rules and regulations to boost rice farming in the country.
The new guidelines require the rice supply chain from traders, rice processors, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to hold a valid certificate of registration issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and an authorised permit issued by MINICOM.
Minister François Kanimba, announced the rules Monday while visiting rice processing industries, rice selling co-operatives and farmers in Rusizi District.
Under the new move, rice farmers and traders are also required to keep sale/ purchase records, acquire warehouses for wholesalers, including subjecting their rice to quality control by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards.
Additionally, processors must also adopt a new standardised approach of packaging in bags of smaller quantities ranging from two kgs to 25 kgs and 50kgs.
“Unless we perfect the selling and processing of rice, we will not reach the exporting standards, yet the government is putting additional efforts in rice farming,” warned Kanimba.
“Packaging in smaller bags will address the problem of duplicating rice.”
He warned illegal rice millers to seek licenses to avoid being penalised.
According to the guidelines, imported rice shall hold a valid certificate of origin.
It is understood the proposal is expected to ensure quality and quantity rice, stabilise prices and increase profits across the supply chain.
The government also plans to construct buffer stocks for excess produce which would be sold during scarcity to stabilise prices.
Rice farmers welcomed the rules, saying these would protect them against unscrupulous rice dealers.
Job Ndikubwayo, a farmer in Zone three, Bugarama, said that often, traders cut rice prices at their will.
As for processing industries, their problem has been operating below their capacity because farmers still prefer lower standard and probably cheaper processing machines.
The Minister also held talks with the local business community about the marketing network, advising them to take advantage of the Rwanda-DRC trade to boost their businesses.
Part of Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts’ economy is based on rice farming, with Kamiranzovu, Kirimbi, Mugonero and Bugarama swamps being the major rice fields.