Changing weather patterns, which will see a reduction in rainfall in the coming months in some parts of the country, could negatively affect agricultural produce.
In the just started farming season B 2018, Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo) forecasts a short and depressed rainy season countrywide, excluding the surrounding parts of Nyungwe and Volcanoes National parks, which are expected to have normal to above normal rainfall.
The Ministry of Agriculture is now urging farmers to tap into drought-tolerant crops.
“Farmers are urged to plant short duration crops and those tolerant to the drought as early as possible,” said Telesphore Ndabamenye, the head of crop production and food security at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
Dr Ndabamenye proposed crops like cassava, banana and other drought-tolerant crops for planting during season B.
According to recently released forecasts by the meteorological agency, the rainfall in the upcoming farming season, which started this month, is expected to be around 250mm countrywide.
The surrounding areas of national parks are forecasted to get around 430mm of rain, from the 350mm and 400mm in the past farming season.
John Ntaganda Semafara, the director-general of Rwanda Meteorology Agency, said a large part of the country is expected to get normal to below-normal rainfall upto the third week of May.
According to the forecast, districts in Kigali, along with Karongi, Rutsiro, Rubavu, Ngororero, and Nyabihu districts of Western province, and Gisagara, Muhanga, Huye, Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Nyanza, Kamonyi and Ruhango districts of Southern Province are expected to experience less rainfall. Other districts predicted to get poor rainfall are Gatsibo, Ngoma, Bugesera, Rwamagana, Kayonza and Kirehe districts in Eastern Province.
However, Musanze, Gicumbi, Burera, Rulindo and Gakenke districts in the North are predicted get normal rainfall along with a few areas in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts in the East and Rusizi and Nyamasheke in Western Province.