Following concern over lack of markets for milk, Irish potatoes, maize and wheat among others, farmers are asking the government to help create new markets for their produce.
According to farmers in Nyamagabe and surrounding areas, the situation has been worsened by the closure of Gitare Mills’ which is worth up to Rwf540 million of Tare Integrated Wheat Industry — a solo wheat processing factory located in Tare Sector that had the capacity to absorb the production from that area.
District officials say the factory has gone offline due to the machines breaking down and lack of spare parts. District officials have tried to attract potential buyers.
“The district in collaboration with stakeholders managed to sell about 1,500 tonnes of wheat with the Ministry of Agriculture taking on 300 tonnes for reserve and Union of Gikongoro Agricultural Co-operatives taking 250 tonnes among others,” said Bonaventure Uwamahoro, the mayor of Nyamagabe District.
Therese Musabyemariya, the head of Indatwa Kagano co-operative, made up of 132 farmers, has been farming wheat, maize and Irish potatoes.
They have been harvesting over 30 tonnes of wheat in a season, but after lack of markets the farmers turned to farming beans.
According to district officials, districts have the potential to produce over 19,000 tonnes of wheat on a yearly basis and this could increase through the crop intensification programme.
A decade ago, the government adopted an agriculture transformation and rural development course for land consolidation, which aimed to improve productivity by fostering rational land use and implementing crop intensification programme.
However, in some parts of the country the programme waned over limited market access.
During a recent visit to Nyamagabe District, President Paul Kagame asked officials to looks into the lack of markets for agricultural produce, especially for the wheat produced in the area.