Farmers in the Eastern province have urged the government and non-governmental organisations to establish an effective platform to disseminate information on market prices and trends to enable them plan properly on the crops to grow.
Maize and cassava are some of the crops they said prices change on market, which at times leads them into losses.
Farmers said most organisations in the region have continued to sensitise residents on crop production as an alternative source of livelihoods other than pastoralism, but that they haven’t done much to give them information on marketing and prices.
Steven Kabanda, a small scale commercial farmer in Karangazi sector, in Nyagatare district, said with availability of information on market prices and trends, farmers are better placed to make informed decisions on crops to grow, which farming practices to adopt and the markets to sell their produce for a better bargain.
He said such information aids farmers to understand prices, markets and supply and demand. In most cases he said, farmers don’t know causes of increase and decrease of price of good and services on market.
Sylvia Mukarugwiza, another farmer from the same area said farmers need information on agricultural markets to help them make better decisions.
“You find that a certain farmers association puts much emphasis on growing maize as recommended but after harvesting the price drops leading to losses,” said Ms Mukarugwiza.
She urged Ministry of Agriculture and that of Trade, to educate farmers on market prices and farming practices to adopt in order to benefit from their produce.
In an interview with Rwanda Today, Animarie Nikuze, vice president of Private Sector Forum in Nyagatare district, said farmers require more than just commodity prices.
She said farmers require different marketing information depending on their location, local market conditions, crops they grow, production activities and local cultural practices.
“Concerned stakeholders should always find time when farmers are busy opening up their farmlands and use this period to carry out market surveys and sensitizations to farmers so that by the time they start planting they’re well-informed,” said Ms Nikuze.