NGOMA – The Ngoma District Mayor Francois Niyotwagira has urged local leaders to actively take part in planting coffee, if the district is to achieve its goals.
He said this while meeting Sector agronomists, heads of coffee cooperative societies in the district and other district officials last Tuesday.
The meeting was aimed at laying strategies of meeting the targets of planting all coffee trees as originally planned. The district projected to plant 6,890,000 coffee trees this year.
However, with only a month left to the end of the proposed period of planting, only half of the coffee trees have been planted so far.
Participants at the meeting blamed lack of cooperation between district authorities and grassroots leaders for the slow progress in meeting this set target. He thus appealed to leaders to sensitise residents to take part in the planting exercise.
“You leaders have given little concern to this activity and that’s why all coffee trees are still in the nursery beds,” Ephraim Ndegabaganizi, the President of Iakb Coffee Cooperative Society said.
He added: “You should directly engage the residents by proactively showing them what they are supposed to do and what benefits they will get out of it - if not I doubt if all the remaining coffee trees will be planted on time as planned originally.”
The Mayor reiterated his call to local leaders to push for the speedy planting in order to beat the deadline.
“We better put a halt to all other activities in the district in this month so that we can focus our energies on the planting of the remaining coffee seedlings,” he said.
The meeting resolved to engage pupils and students in the planting and to use vehicles to transport the seedlings to far off distances as part of the strategies to speed up the exercise.
They also agreed to plant coffee trees in banana plantations contrary to the previous decisions which had been reached.
It noted that during harvesting season, there is always not enough drying space where coffee beans are dried in conditions which at times affects the quality of the end product.
It was however, agreed that the district would identify three more drying areas before the harvesting season starts.
Others present at the meeting were officials from the Coffee Regulatory Authority, Ocir café and those from the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD).