Farmers stare at losses as onion market fizzles out

Wednesday January 30 2019


Onion farmers in Western Province are worried about lack of market for their produce. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA. 

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Onion farmers in Western Province are staring at losses due to lack of market for their produce.

Jean Baptiste Maniriho, an onion farmer from Busasamana sector in Rubavu District, told Rwanda Today that he is counting loses after failing to get the market for his produce.

“I have already incurred losses, as of now because a quarter of the produce have rotted. I am wondering where I will get money to pay back the bank loan of Rwf2million I acquired to increase production,” he said

“I used to invest Rwf200,000 and Rwf500,000 for cultivation and sowing respectively. Together with miscellaneous could cost me about Rwf1million and earn more than Rwf2million. But this season, I incurred around Rwf1.5 million up to now it has been three months and I can’t get the market,” he said.

Last season, he spent Rwf1.5million, but after harvest, he is likely to fetch Rwf1million from the whole farm, resulting in losses attributed to a lack of ready market.

“If the middlemen continue to take advantage of lack of market, we shall remain with no choice but stop growing onions and resort to other businesses,” he warned.

He said a 100 kilogramme sack of onion used to sale at Rwf25,000, but currently it fetches Rwf5000.

Mr Maniriho said traders in the Kigali, hotels, schools and hospitals buy a 100 kilogramme of onions to last them for a longer period.

“We want the government to intervene and set prices that recommend wholesalers to purchase per one kilogramme not per 100 kilogramme. At least one kilogramme of onion should be bought from the farmer at Rwf100 up to Rwf150.

However, vice mayor of Rubavi District Janvier Murenzi said the matter is being looked into to support farmers get markets for their products.

“We are aware that some onion farmers are challenged with the market of their produce in the district, but this is an issue we are looking into. We have already explored the market for onions and carrots in the southern province. We are also encouraging all the vegetable farmers, especially onion and carrot farmers to join farmers’ cooperatives in other provinces to access those markets,”said Mr Murenzi.