Eastern Province farmers urged to increase fertiliser use

Officials from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (Rab) have complained that the use of fertilisers among farmers is still below average in Eastern Province.
A farmer in Muhanga district weeds her garden.  The New Times/ T. Kisambira.
A farmer in Muhanga district weeds her garden. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.

Officials from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (Rab) have complained that the use of fertilisers among farmers is still below average in Eastern Province.

Addressing local leaders in the province, recently, Innocent Musabyimana, a Rab official, said the level at which artificial fertilisers were being used would not increase productivity.

He lamented that despite the fact that government took several actions conducive to improving access to fertilisers, most farmers still shy away.

“Fertiliser use is still far below 50 per cent. This is so bad owing to the fact that Eastern Province is regarded as the food basket of the country. It is the province with the largest arable land in the country. We must find a holistic approach to the issue,” he said.

“Fertilisers raise productivity of farmers, enabling them to increase income, accumulate assets, and set themselves on a pathway out of poverty,” Musabyimana added.

Protais Murayire, the Kirehe district mayor, said many rural farmers have either not adopted fertiliser technology or are not fully abreast of its importance. 

He said sometimes the farmers’ attitude towards modernisation also play a decisive role. 

“Most farmers believe fertilisers increase production cost, promote weed growth and decreases the durability of their produce,” the mayor said.

Murayire also attributed the problem to false beliefs, saying whenever a successful farmer says they did not use fertiliser, others also shun the practice.

“Fertilisers have a big market in Burundi where people know its importance. Traders take advantage of our farmers’ ignorance to tell them that it’s hazardous to crops and end up smuggling fertilisers to neighbouring countries,” he said.

Ambrose Ruboneza, the Gatsibo mayor, however, blamed the problem on lack of access to loan facilities for fertilisers.

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