Red flag raised over reliance on imported seeds

Tuesday May 26 2020

seeds

The current rate of local seed production is also below what is required for the country to be self-reliant in the next 3 years. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Rwanda still heavily relies on the imported seeds spending at least Rwf 6 billion on over 3,579.70 metric tonnes of the farm input.

According to the latest Auditor General’s report, not only are the locally produced seeds poorly managed, but the current rate of seed production is below what is required for the country to be self-reliant in the next three years.

Auditor general report on the state finances for the year ended June 30, 2019 said the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and agriculture sector partners have only achieved 31 per cent of set annual seeds production target. As such the country continues to heavily depend on imported seeds, which auditor indicates that by June 30 2019 over 3,579.70 metric tonnes of seeds worth up to Rwf6 billion, and equates to 91 per cent of all seeds needed in the country were imported.

“This high level of seeds dependence is associated with the failure of RAB to achieve the set local seed production annual target,” the auditor general’s report reads in part.

Locally reduced

The government has opted to locally produce and multiply seeds programme to reduce the lengthy procurement procedures that hamper timely delivery of hybrid seeds to Rwandan farmers.

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Maize, wheat and soya are among other imported seeds, the farmers more often complain about their poor quality, not being productive and not resilient to climate change due to failure to adapt to local climatology.

However, the auditor general indicates that even the little amount of seeds that have been locally produced were found to be spoiled in the stores.

While RAB acquired locally produced seeds from different seeds multipliers across the country at the prices agreed in signed contracts.

The audit noted that due to the poor management of the over Rwf128 million worth of seeds that were acquired and stored at RAB’s station in Rubilizi went to waste.

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