Rwanda plans to revamp agriculture research centres

Sunday February 12 2017

A farmer from Rwanda’s Eastern Province. PHOTO | FILE

A farmer from Rwanda’s Eastern Province. PHOTO | FILE 

By Leonce Muvunyi

The government is working to revamp agriculture research centres to make them more effective in dealing with the country’s need to increase agricultural productivity.

The move comes after farmers raised concerns about agricultural technocrats and researchers not giving them quality seeds in a timely way, which affected their planting seasons.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Jean Claude Kayisinga, the move is part of the government’s decision to realign agriculture policies to make them more effective amid unpredictable weather patterns and climate change.

“By overhauling agriculture research centres, we will stimulate agricultural production by giving farmers affordable and more climate resilient seeds that are produced locally and in sufficient quantity,” said Mr Kayisinga.

Farmers in the Southern Province complained about the cassava type sourced from Uganda during the 2016 Season A, saying it was unproductive and non-resilient to climate change. Officials blamed the poor yields on the cassava being wrong for Rwandan soil and its weather conditions.

The revamping of research centres will focus more on seed multiplication and coming up with seed varieties that are adaptable to climate change. The changes at the research centres are expected to take four years.

The director-general of Rwanda Agriculture Board Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, said reforms in agricultural research institutions would provide short and long-term solutions to the current climate-related challenges in the sector.

“We need a vibrant research sector to guide us toward better use of our resources,” he said.