Why farmers should turn to horticulture

Editor,REFER TO the article, “Where are opportunities for exporters in 2014?” (Sunday Times, January 12).
Antoine Kamali, a coffee farmer in the Northern Province, works on his farm. The New Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.
Antoine Kamali, a coffee farmer in the Northern Province, works on his farm. The New Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.

Editor,

REFER TO the article, “Where are opportunities for exporters in 2014?” (Sunday Times, January 12).

As a country, we need to realise that coffee can’t be relied on anymore as the exports backbone. The farmers should be helped to immediately diversify their plantations with other crops, especially fruits such as mangoes and oranges.

And that makes business sense, because, for instance, a kilogramme of grafted mangoes fetches three times that of improved coffee. Go to any market in Kigali and ask for mangoes, then note the price tag. Surprisingly, we have not community with clarity this difference to farmers.

Therefore, horticulture is the way to go for those who want to earn from agriculture.

Robert, Mbarara, Uganda

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THIS IS a very informative article from a statistics point of view. It’s clear the days of over relying on coffee and tea are over.

But if farmers are to replace coffee trees with other plants, can those plants do well with the same soils? We need researchers at the Ministry of Agriculture to propose new species that can either replace or supplement the unreliable coffee and tea.

Benjamin, Rwanda

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