Farmers in Rwanda up in arms against new directives

Thursday February 18 2021

Maize farmers associations say new system will lead to delays in payments. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


Farmers are up in arms against recent directive by the government restricting them to sell produce only to buyers recognised by the Rwanda Development Board.

In the recent Ministry of Trade regulations on the maize production that were issued earlier last week, the government said that only registered traders with Rwanda Development Board, are allowed to take in the maize farmers’ production.

“Ministry of Trade takes this occasion to remind the general public that the traders who are allowed to buy the farmers’ production are those who have authorization. (Those possesses the permission of buying the agriculture production issued by Rwanda Development Board),” Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade noted in the communique that has been signed on February 4.  However, maize farmers’ associations say many members may face delayed payments and limited market access due to bureaucratic processes.

Evariste Tugirisnhuti, maize farmers’ representative told Rwanda Today that while the local traders help farmers in their daily farming endeavour, the directive will badly affect the value chain.

“Our farmers were helped out over 60 per cent by the local traders on their agriculture inputs or other daily lives. If the farmers need petty cash to pay people who are harvesting, inputs or school fees for the children, they go for the nearby trader who in exchange will take in a certain amount of production,” Tugirinshuti said on the phone interview.

“By deliberately blocking the local buyers from buying the production, these local traders will still get the production in hidden ways but on the lower prices, which will usher farmers into losses; because if for instance a farmer needs Rwf200, 000, s/he has been getting this money from the nearby trader and out of three tons harvested, the local trader gets paid probably by two tons,” Mr Tugirisnhuti added.