Premier presents achievements in agriculture sector
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi yesterday presented the status of agriculture and farming to both chambers of Parliament. In his presentation, he highlighted the crop intensification program, animal resources status, and import substitution commodities.
The Prime Minister commended the land consolidation and fertilizer use programs for having made a remarkable change in Rwandans’ lives. “The surface consolidated has increased from 254 ha in 2010 up to 624 ha today while today, 56% of Rwandan farmers use fertilizers,” he said, adding that the programs have contributes a lot in increasing the productivity.
Considering some crops like maize and wheat, Habumuremyi commended the productivity where the harvest doubled from one year to the next. “A huge increase is observed on Irish potatoes where the productivity increased from 8 tones/ha in 2007 up to 16 tones/ha today,” he stated. “This production has played a huge role in increasing food security – in 2007, 21 out of 30 districts were vulnerable to food insecurity and now, none of them are.”
Concerning animal resources, the Prime Minister stated that at least 70% of the Rwandan households have animals thanks to the one-cow-per-family program and other programs that grant goats, pig etc. “The cows available in the country make it possible to have at least 150,000 liters of milk every day,” observed Habumuremyi.
He explained that this has contributed to improving nutrition in the country. “75,000 children receive half a liter of milk twice a week in the ‘one cup of milk’ program at their schools, while kitchen gardens target 7,947 malnourished households in seven districts of the country.”
Concerning export commodities, the Prime Minister told lawmakers that the main exported products are coffee, tea, horticulture produce and pyrethrum. “We produced 16,371 tons of coffee, which brought in US$ 75 million. For tea it was 24,169 tons with revenue of US$ 59 million. Horticulture earned US$ 4.5 million from 31,416 tons of flowers exported and pyrethrum brought in revenues equal to US$ 5.5 million from 18 tons.”
However, there are still challenges in the agriculture and farming field. They include little investment by the private sector in the agriculture sector and access to finance for small farmers.
“We plan to educate people on irrigation, mechanization, breeding and post-harvest management,” Habumuremyi explained. “We have to strengthen cooperatives around consolidated sites to become viable enterprises and lastly we encourage those who have the capacity to invest in agriculture research and technology transfer for the benefit of farmers and value chain players.”