As the rice growers decry limited choices of competitive varieties on the market, local market continues to favour the imported long and slender-grained aromatic rice varieties from Tanzania and other import markets.
The players in the rice value chain told Rwanda Today that the locally grown varieties, which have been cultivated over the last couple of decades, are progressively losing the customers interests.
“Most of the time, the clients come in looking for the long and slender-grained aromatic varieties of rice. They are even sweet-smelling,” Adeline Musabyimana, a foodstuff dealer in Kacyiru sector told Rwanda Today, adding that most of these varieties are imported.
Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources figures indicate that the local market is flooded with outsourced rice varieties. This is despite the Rwandan rice millers having stuck with the production.
According to the figures, the locally grown rice counts nearly 53 per cent of total rice available on the market. However, 27 per cent of this production is the short-grain rice variety, while 24 per cent counts for long-grain varieties, which are not favourable to the consumers compared to imports.
Ministry figures indicate only two per cent of locally grown rice variety is the one meeting the likes of eastern varieties, likes of the highly appreciated long and slender-grained aromatic rice varieties from Asia such as Basmati.
Around 17, 000 tons of locally grown rice are still in stores of rice millers as failed to get buyers.
Different rice farmers who talked to Rwanda Today said limited choices on the rice varieties stick them on the less favourable varieties.
Coproriz Ntende, one of the leading co-operatives of rice farmers in the Eastern Province’s Gatsibo District said they widely cultivate the less favourable rice for Rwandan market.
Elysée Rugwizangoga told Rwanda Today that though the short-grain variety, popular known as Kigori, remains less favourable to the consumers’ taste, it's high yielding keep the farmers going for it.
“The short-grain varieties of rice are not preferred on the market, but it has high yielding compare to the rest varieties we currently have,” Ms Rugwizangoga told Rwanda Today.