Govt seeks funds to protect farmers from climate change

Sunday May 19 2019

farmer

The govt needs the funds to supports more extension work and research geared towards protecting farmers from the harsh and costly effects of climate change. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources is looking for funds to fight the effects of climate change through more research and extension activities.

This is expected to be the focus for the ministry in the next financial year of 2019/2020.

However, the agricultural sector faces a funding gap of Rwf151.46 billion out of Rwf272.81 billion according to the draft 2019/2020 Budget Framework Paper that is currently under scrutiny by parliament.

The Budget Framework Paper shows that out of Rwf177.37 billion that the ministry requested to support farmers against the effects of climate change through adoption of modern tools and the Climate Smart Agriculture Technique, it was given Rwf65.14 billion, which results in a shortfall of Rwf112.22 billion.

The ministry requested for Rwf11.39 billion for carrying out research and extension activities to boost efficient and sustainable production of high quality and nutritious products, but it only got Rwf3.61 billion.

“We would like to rehabilitate as many irrigation schemes as possible, and increase use of fertilisers and radical terracing infrastructures,” Jean Claude Musabyimana, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, told members of a parliamentary standing committee on budget and national patrimony, during the recent budget hearing.

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According to Mr Musabyimana, the agriculture ministry plans to rehabilitate and scale up irrigation schemes on 1,504 hectares, provide farmers 15,867 tonnes of fertiliser and 2,713 tonnes of seeds and construction of radical terraces on 745 hectares.

But, these programmes are threatened by limited access to finance.

However, this is despite the fact that the agriculture sector employs the most number of Rwandans and contributes heavily to the country’s GDP.

“Having the agriculture sector underfunded means that services for farmers will be limited, which will affect production,” said Joseph Gafaranga, the president of farmers’ association- Imbaraga.

“The government should consider increasing agriculture spending, so that the pressing issues around agro-inputs  fertilisers and better quality seeds, markets for production and mitigating and setting up defending mechanisms against climate changes can be addressed,” added Mr Gafaranga.

The recently launched agriculture insurance scheme has been allocated Rwf370 million out of Rwf890 million.

Under the available funding, the ministry said it will cover 7,968 hectares of maize, 937.5 hectares of rice and insure over 21,000 cows.

Under the fourth Strategic plan for Agriculture Transformation and National Strategy for Transformation, the government has pledged to invest over Rwf380 billion in agriculture.

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