Maize farmers in Bugesera District used to harvest enough from their maize plantation but the current season presents is not promising at all as the seeds they sowed about two months ago, failed to grow sprouts due to lack of rain.
This situation, the farmers told The Inspirer, has caused them a huge loss.
Ildephonse Munyeshyaka, one of the farmers who incurred such a loss said that he planted maize on one hectare and none of the seeds rose from the soil up to now.
“I did whatever to plant maize on one hectare and none germinated since September. By now, due to lack of rain, I feared to plant another part of my soil which used to give enough maize produce in returns,” Munyeshyaka told The Inspirer.
The farmer said that there is nothing else they can do because the season is coming to an end and cannot expect maize yield. The maize season currently starts in September and it is two months late.
“We used to plant maize in September and harvest in January. This situation will involve hunger as the season is already over,” Munyeshyaka worried.
Farmers call for support of irrigation facilities to cope with this situation.
On November 7, 2018, Hinga Weze USAID funded project in partnership with Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) kick started the season 2019-A in Rweru sector, Bugesera District with an intervention of agro input (seeds) and these are 1,000kg of high iron beans of which 120kg were planted at the launch of the season.
Farmers will be using irrigation systems to grow these beans because even the current season has not enough rain. They said that the seeds of beans they bought failed to germinate and they expect a solution from the Hinga Weze’s High iron bean seeds.
Mediatrice Uwanyirigira, a farmer from Rweru sector lauded the efforts of Hinga Weze for new variety of seeds. Hinga Weze offered 10 tons of High Iron Beans in total to Bugesera District, 2 tons of this was given to Rweru Sector.
During this season 2019-A, beans and cassava seeds were chosen to be planted according to Angelique Umwali, Bugesera District’s vice mayor in charge of economic development.
She said that they have already started spreading beans and cassava seeds; and one cassava tree seed costs Rwf10. Officials have warned citizens on deforestation since the late is blamed to lead to drought which caused the situation of rain shortage. Umwali said that they are putting more efforts to encourage tree planting and put farmers in cooperatives to be able to request irrigation supports.
Oswald Shyirambere, the technician for Irrigation and Mechanization at Rwanda Agriculture Board said that such cooperatives have to pay contributions so that government subsidizes irrigation facilities at 50 percent.
Meanwhile, as the seeds failed to germinate due to dry spells in some areas, in other parts of the country farmers are having green plantations including beans and maize.
Irrigation will come as one of the sustainable solutions to cope with the situation.
Germaine Kamayirese, Minister of Emergency told concerned entities to deliver possible support to farmers and prevent them being victims of drought disasters in the coming seasons.
She advised farmers to have their land consolidated to be able to apply irrigation and mechanization services to increase agriculture produce.
“Farmers must have their land consolidated and then easily apply irrigation and mechanization to increase agriculture produce,” the Minister noted.
As neighbors of Lake Rweru, farmers will be lucky to apply irrigation system using the water from the lake.
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