Ministry expects bumper harvest despite floods

Wednesday January 22 2020

crops

A farm under irrigation. The government is upbeat that the country will harvest enough food in season even though changing weather patterns will affect some areas. Mountainous areas expected to lead in harvest. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources predicts a bumper harvest in the season A of 2020 despite the flooding that washed away thousands of hectares of land with crops.

According to the ministry officials, there will be a plentiful harvest, mainly in mountainous regions that was not severely hit by the floods in the past couple of months.

Ministry figures indicate that out of 800,000 hectares of consolidated land that have been farmed during the last farming season, 255,000 hectares were covered by maize, 364,000 hectares by beans, 14,000 hectares taken up by rice and 5,000 hectares covered by soy.

Other crops were cassava on 45, 00 hectares, wheat on 5, 500 hectares and vegetables covered 7,000 hectares.

“Crops like rice, vegetables and beans were destroyed by the rain near the harvesting season, but the maize plantation was not badly affected as they have been grown in mountainous regions,” said Geraldine Mukeshimana, Agriculture Minister.

She added that bumber good harvest is expected from the mountains where crops like cassava and maize are grown.

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“We are still compiling figure with the National Institute of Statistics, but we are expecting good harvest despite the setbacks,” she added.

During the A-season, farmers mostly do farming on the hilly terrain where crops that brave heavy down-pour during the months of December and January are grown.

According to the ministry official figures, the accumulated and consolidated land in the A season of 2020 has been 800,000 while the total arable land has remained constant.

Throughout the first season of 2019, the total cultivated land was roughly around 1,319,000 hectares from 1,261,000 hectares cultivated in 2018.

“We haven’t taken into account the total arable land, only consolidated land which has remained constant throughout the last season, ” said Ms Mukeshimana.

On the other hand, under the normal crops rotation that sees some land lying idle for reconversion and the fact that some crops spend more time in the farms could cause the cultivated land changing from season to season.

During the season A-2019, maize took up to 215,159 hectares, legumes and pulses covered 365,623 hectares while vegetables and fruits were shared over 23,394 hectares.

Effects of heavy rains

In December last year, rained wreaked havoc, killing tens of people and destroying crops.

The government said it had evacuated close to 6,000 residents from high-risk zones in different parts of the country threatened by heavy rains.

Some 4,000 of them were staying with their relatives, 1,500 living in government-rented houses while about 300 others are temporarily sheltered in schools, the government told journalists.

Although the heavy rains began to cease in the third week, disaster management and mitigation measures would still be necessary, Minister of Environment Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya said at the press conference.

 Floods and landslides caused by heavy rains this year have affected 22 national roads, and 42 district roads and bridges, said Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete Official data showed extreme weather caused more than 250 deaths in the African country last year, and, this year, it has left more than 100 people dead, some 5,000 houses damaged and more than 9,000 hectares of plantations destroyed.

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