First 2016 harvest ‘to be lower’ amid fears of food shortage

Friday January 29 2016

By Moses K Gahigi

The first harvest of 2016 is expected to register declines due to the drought experienced in the second part of last year, which could subsequently lead to acute food shortage.

Areas especially in the semi-arid agro-pastoral zone of the eastern part of the country experienced prolonged drought, which is expected to lead to deterioration in food security for poor households, according to Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet).

People in this zone are expected to feel the blunt of the scarcity because most of them have depleted their previous below-average season ‘B’ harvests, said Fewsnet.

“It is true, there were deficits of rain in some parts of the country,” Tony Nsanganira, the State Minister for Agriculture, admitted in a recent interview with Rwanda Today.

“This was seen on the ground, especially in the eastern parts, but we also saw excess rains in other parts, due to the El-Niño situation.

No alarming situation

“We are expecting harvest in a month, we expect to see a reduction in the produce, we are yet to do our assessment, but we haven’t seen any alarming situation.”

Mr Nsanganira cited the most affected districts as Kayonza, Nyagatare and Bugesera, where the drought also affected livestock.
There were cases of livestock that did not have enough water, which has had a negative impact on milk production in the areas.

“As a government, we have reserves, we are ready to respond to the affected households,” Mr Nsanganira added.