Representatives of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency yesterday met in Kigali to discuss how rice farmers in Eastern Province can increase production.
The meeting, according to Enosa Musabyimana, the coordinator of the project on behalf of RAB, was an opportunity for stakeholders to assess the progress, achievements as well as challenges.
“Farmers through their cooperatives have been able to benefit but we need to consider the challenges that farmers still face,” said Musabyimana.
The project has supported 18 cooperatives engaged in paddy rice farming to improve the quality of rice. Also, pineapples and vegetables cooperatives have been supported.
The project targets 9,169 rice growers and 3,272 horticulture farmers.
Officials said that various trainings have been organised to address challenges in horticulture cultivation, farmers’ organisation, water management, post harvesting and marketing among other things.
The meeting attracted participants from the private and public sector especially those in the agriculture sector as well as farmers from various rice cooperatives in the Eastern Province.
Some of the farmers who spoke to The New Times called for more effort to boost rice production.
Vedaste Butera, the chairperson of Duhuzimbaraga Cooperative in Ngoma District said that the cooperative’s rice production has greatly increased with support from the project.
“We need more of this support to ensure that farmers get skills to practice the best farming methods; and am convinced that many farmers will be forced to embrace rice farming,” Butera said.
He pointed out that previously, they could harvest less than 3 tonnes of rice per hectare due to poor farming methods, but currently, they are producing more than 6 tonnes per hectare.