By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) has announced that farmers will start to use locally produced maize seeds in Agricultural Season 2019-A to start in September.
It was announced during the meeting with agro-dealers from all provinces of the country and Hinga Weze-USAID funded project to discuss about the preparation of the next season.
Speaking during the meeting, the Director General of RAB, Patrick Karangwa said that about 2,000 tonnes of maize seeds have been produced locally and farmers are urged to use them.
“We used to import about 3,000 tonnes of maize seeds from outside the country and seeing that we have managed to locally produce about 2,000 tonnes of maize seeds, we are then moving to reduce the imports which is in line with government’s policy to reduce seed importation and increase local seed production,” he said.
He mentioned that government wants that at least 60 per cent of maize seeds are locally produced.
“We used to have seeds distribution delay and other related problems but with local production of seeds, all those issues will be handled,” he assured.
Jerome Nahimana, an agro-dealer in Kamonyi district said that they have not yet stored seeds to sell to farmers because they still await those locally produced seeds which they have been recommended by Rwanda Agricultural Board.
He said that a kilogramme of locally produced maize seeds is bought at Rwf295 while the one of imported hybrid seeds is bought Rwf500 adding that a farmer can harvest 4 tonnes per one hectare of locally produced seeds.
Egide Gatari, the Agricultural Subsidies Programne Manager at RAB said that in last season A over 24,000 tonnes of fertilizers were used while 2,925 tonnes of seeds of maize, wheat and soya were planted.
In the last agricultural season B, over 20,000 tonnes of fertilizers were used and 1,400 tonnnes of seeds were planted by farmers.
“In the Season 2019 A, we have so far distributed 3,295 tonnes of fertilizers, 151 tonnes of maize, wheat and soya together,” he said.
He said inputs distribution is being done also through Smart Nkunganire, the system that accelerates inputs distribution.
So far, he said, the smart system is being used by over 1.4 million farmers with 1.2 million farms who use the system that allows the farmer to know the exact amount of inputs needed for their lands.
Agro-dealers have been urged to use the system and have a list of farmers so that they document who need inputs before ordering them adding they should well manage the inputs in stores as they have been paid for by government.
Beatrice Kantarama, the agro-dealer in Rwamagana district, Muhazi sector said that farmers are preparing their lands and lists are being designed before seeds are ordered for.
“After we, as agro-dealers get the list of farmers in need of inputs, we will soon order for inputs from distributors. We do this to avoid some seeds to rot in our stores once there are few farmers to buy them. We are achieving this by using smart Nkunganire where a farmer be able to know exact quantity of inputs needed,” she said.
Daniel Giez, the chief of party at Hinga Weze-USAID funded project which took part in bringing together the agro-dealers for discussion on the planting season A said that in supporting Rwanda’s efforts, the project is also injecting its $5 million support in soil terracing and irrigation to make sure flooding and drought do not damage seeds, fertilizers and harvest as well as inputs distribution.
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