Farmers ready to plant new crop varieties by local researchers

Monday March 11 2019

seeds

The new seed varieties will help boost yields. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA  

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Farmers plan to substitute several low-yield seeds for new varieties developed by local researchers, which are expected to be ready in agriculture season A next year.

According to farmers’ representatives, agronomists from the agriculture ministry were working to ensure that new seeds varieties for key staples are approved for multiplication ahead of season A in September.

Rwanda Today learnt that so far researchers have produced five Irish potato seed varieties, one maize, two wheat varieties and several cassava seed varietie.

They have been tested for yield potential, adaptation to varying ecological zones and resistance to diseases and harsh weather.

“Although multiplication of some approved seed varieties has been taking place across the country, a lot is needed to produce enough quantities to meet farmers’ demand,” said Vincent Havugimana, chairman of the Irish Potato Growers Federation.

According to agronomists, the new Irish potato seed varieties have the potential to produce 28 to 30 tonnes per hectare compared with 15 tonnes per hectare with the existing varieties.

Farmers say the new varieties dubbed Ndeze, Izihirwe, Twihaze, Nkunganire and Kaze Neza could replace existing seeds varieties like the popular Rwagume and Rwasake varieties sourced from Uganda.

The new wheat varieties have the potential to produce up to six tonnesper hectare and will replace Musama and Njoro varieties whose yield had declined to three tonnes per hectare.

However, agronomists from the Rwanda Federation of Wheat growers’ Co-operatives said delays in payment by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rwanda Agriculture Board could slow increase of the new seed varieties.

Data shows demand for priority seeds such as maize, beans and wheat is set to rise even further due to consolidated land.

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