Residents of drought-prone areas in Rwanda's Eastern Province have raised concern over limited access to agricultural inputs and food assistance. While the government has already started supplying food aid to the affected areas, there is concern about the quantities being supplied.
Rwanda Today has learnt that people in need of food assistance are offered 2.5kgs of maize and 1kg of beans for two weeks.
Over 5,000 people across three districts in Eastern Province have been identified as being in need of food aid due to a prolonged dry spell according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri).
Specifically, they are located in Kigina, Nasho, Mpanga, Nyarubuye sectors in Kirehe districts; Murama, Ndego, Rwinkwavu, Kabarondo, Kabare na Mwiri of Kayonza districts along Katabagemu,Rukomo, Tabagwe, Karangazi, Nyagatare of Nyagatare districts respectively.
“In my village with about 176 families, only around 70 families have received food support, yet the numbers in need were over 100,” said Celestin Habimana, the chief of Nkondo I village, in Kayonza district.
Others are forced to work on neighbouring farms to cope, but say the payment is insufficient.
According to figures from Minagri, food aid has already covered Kirehe district, with 268 tonnes of maize and 190 tonnes of beans supplied.
There is concern that some of the affected families cannot access agricultural inputs ahead of planting Season B of 2018 as they failed to repay for earlier inputs.
Ministry officials blame the local administration for delaying the process of identifying and submitting lists of households in need of agricultural inputs.
“Districts normally make a request for agricultural inputs, but we haven’t got the requests,” said Telesphore Ndabamenye, the head of Crop Production and Food Security Department in the Rwanda Agriculture Board.