KIREHE-Banana farmers in Kirehe District, with markets in North America, have expressed concern over high transport charges.
Augustine Ngabonziza, a banana farmer, who exports bananas to Canada said the increasing transport charges were adversely affecting his business.
The concerns were raised during a meeting that was attended by local leaders and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ngabonziza, called on the government to intervene and help reduce transport costs.
“We have learnt that it takes US$6 to transport a kilogram of bananas that costs US$5.5 per kg after all expenses,” he pointed out.
He alleged that some regional competitors have been sabotaging their business.
“Our banana quality is very good and has threatened other producers in the region. But because we are landlocked, we inevitably pass through other countries to export. They make sure theirs is delivered first,” Ngabonziza lamented.
Norbert Sendegeya, the Director General in the Ministry of Agriculture said that the problem was being worked on by relevant authorities. He noted the issue of high transport charges for food crops, fruits and flowers has been troubling.
“The problem is that the export volume of food crops is still low...we expect it to increase as more local producers come in. We are in touch with a number of air transporters to help our farmers,” he said.
Eastern Provincial Governor, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said that the fact that farmers in Kirehe were exporting food crops was encouraging.
She promised to join other stakeholders to assist farmers in their efforts.
“The revelation should encourage even the laziest in our communities. There is market abroad...I hear Congo Brazzaville imports bananas from Brazil, what if they got them from Kirehe,” she said.