Farmers have called for an extension of the government subsidy programme to enable them to afforts agrochemicals, whose prices are skyrocketing.
According to the farmers who talked to Rwanda Today, following the sweeping impacts of coronavirus pandemic on their production, their incomes have dropped.
“Besides the coronavirus impact affecting us in the farms as we abide by the health regulations, the pandemic affected us within our families because we have been spending more than what we have been making, which has forced many of the farmers out of reach on the agriculture inputs,” Emmanuel Nsengimana, a farmer in Kinigi sector told Rwanda Today.
The farmers in the Northern Province indicate that in the Irish potato farming, which is their favourable crop, they widely use Dithane, Thiodan and Thiopu among other chemicals, but their prices on the market have skyrocketed.
On the current market prices, one kilogramme of dithane increased to Rwf3,400 from Rwf2,500 in the past season while a small bottle of thiodan has increased to Rwf2, 100 from Rwf1, 000 and a packet of thiopu is costing them Rwf5, 000 from Rwf4000.
“Some farmers could have been able to acquire the seeds and fertilisers but if they fail to get the pesticides to control the pests, the crops burnt out due to the high precipitation in this area,” Joseph Manirakora, a farmer in Kinigi sector of Musanze district told Rwanda Today.
While the Irish potato farming requires weekly spraying, which could happen twice during the high precipitation period, five kilograms of dithane, three bottles of thiodan and two packets of thiopu are required weekly on one hectare.
According to the farmers, with the current market prices, in four months that it takes the Irish potatoes to reap, the farmers have to spray at least 16 times that could in total cost them Rwf532, 800 on top of other expenses required on one hectare.