Low yields discourage farmers

Wednesday September 11 2019

soya

Rwanda is facing a shortage of soybean supply amid growing demand for the produce. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Low yields from Soybean are discouraging farmers from growing the crop despite ongoing efforts to promote it as a cash crop in the Southern province.

The farmers who planted on 50 hectares of land say they are counting losses due to harsh weather conditions which affected the quality of the seeds, leading to no production of soya bean pods.

A total of 624 farmers, in the Mpaza wetland that cuts across Tumba and Mukura sectors grouped into COAGIMPA cooperative, say they were misled by officials to stop planting maize, vegetables and beans in the three normal seasons.

During the last season, the farmers say there were advised by agronomists to venture into soya farming, in enormous expectation of the good production and market.

The farmers received seeds from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

However, the soybeans, which had grown so rapidly and in good condition did not yield much.

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“I intended to plant beans but I was advised to plant Soybean, in expectation of good harvest and market but seed variety we got turned out unfavourable with our farms,” said Erasme Rushimisha, a farmer in Mpaza wetland.

“I was expecting to produce at least four sacks of soya beans, which would be worth up to Rwf300,000 and enable me to pay the school fees for my children, but they failed to yield as they never produced any bean pod,” added Mr Rushimisha.

While farmers have started preparing for the next season, they are yet to receive seeds.

“We are concerned about how we will get seeds in the next farming season... We ended up not even growing vegetables in the last season C,” said Godelive Muhimpundu, head of COAGIMPA Co-operative.

During the season B during which the farmers faced the losses, Rwanda Agricultural Board distributed 300 tonnes of Soya seeds.

A recently released African Seed Access Index indicates that Rwandan farmers’ satisfaction with seeds quality and its level of providing good production stood at 38 per cent.

The report indicates that the use of improved seeds is not yet at the satisfactory level since their usage risen from 3 per cent in 2006 to 12.5 per cent in 2018, on small scale farms and 53.1 per cent for large scale farmers.

However, RAB indicates that the soya bean farming has taken off across the country despite a few isolated cases where it may not be suitable for the local conditions.

“We are putting up tough controls in the introduction of soya bean farming into new areas that haven’t been used to before so that the trials might be carried out before determining the suitable varieties in those new areas...” said Mr Patrick Karangwa, the Director-General, RAB.

Demand for soybean is growing hence the need to increase production.

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