Musanze farmers tipped on potato seeds’ multiplication

Farmers in Musanze District have been advised to get involved in multiplication of quality Irish potato seeds in order to tackle the issue of shortages.
Minister Kalibata listens as a  farmer explains how seeds are multiplied  Saturday Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.
Minister Kalibata listens as a farmer explains how seeds are multiplied Saturday Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.

Farmers in Musanze District have been advised to get involved in multiplication of quality Irish potato seeds in order to tackle the issue of shortages.

The call was made by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Agnes Kalibata, on Thursday during a tour aimed at mobilising farmers ahead of the second farming season due in August.

She inspected Irish potato fields where some farmers are involved in multiplying seeds.

The seeds have been scarce in the region, raising concerns among farmers.

According to Kalibata, Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) will provide Irish potato seeds, which willing farmers will multiply, and sell the certified seeds to other farmers to cultivate.

Mobilising private sector

“We want to mobilise the private sector to get involved with Irish potato seeds multiplication instead of thinking the government will do it alone. Some people have embraced the initiative, what we have to do as the ministry is to encourage many farmers to come on board,” Kalibata said.

“We also wish to take measures which will help farmers get a good supply chain. Currently, there is a problem where farmers plant seeds meant for consumption and are prone to diseases; this should stop as it affects the multiplication process as multipliers lack clients.”

The minister advised farmers to use fertilisers to increase their production, saying the available land should be beneficial when well used.

According to the minister, farmers should target more than 25 tonnes per hectare each season from the current five tonnes and move to increase production  with time.

Farmers who talked to Saturday  Times expressed the willingness to multiply seeds but raised concerns that the seeds to be multiplied are not yet enough compared to the demand.

Cyprien Ntabareshya, the in charge of cooperatives in Kinigi Sector ,said seeds provided by RAB are not enough for the farmers and urged more seeds.

“Farmers have prepared land but lack quality seeds. We wish RAB could provide more seeds and we use them in multiplication. This would help increase production and satisfy the high demand for Irish potatoes,” said Ntabareshya.

Emmanuel Musabyimana, the head of Hinga Volcano Seed Multiplying company, said there was need to mobilise farmers to start planting multiplied seeds instead of using own Irish Potatoes which are less productive.

Seeds multipliers requested authorities for more land to extend their multiplication.

“We have the capacity to multiply more seeds than we are doing now once we have more land. I have only eight hectares while I have the capacity to multiply seeds on more than 30 hectares,” said Regis Niyonsenga, a multiplier in Muko Sector.

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