Thousands of Maize farmers are counting losses due to limited demand for processed maize products on international markets attributed to the disruption of agriculture supply chains during the pandemic, Rwanda Today has learnt.
Two months after harvesting, farmers across the country are stuck with their production as their potential markets and buyers have failed to meet their contractual obligations.
“We don’t have the market, even the partners who used to buy our products told us that their stocks are full. We currently have around 30 tonnes in our driers.
With the markets remain a challenge and the strict regulations upon the market that lockout undocumented buyers, the competition has died, which affects the price of the production on the market,” Simon Twahirwa, president of Duhurizehamwe Mugera, a Maize farming co-operative in Burera district told Rwanda Today.
According to the players in the maize value chain, the maize prices decreased in the first quarter due to lack of access to markets mainly due to the covid-19 pandemic, which has made it hard for traders and other off-takers to acquire loan facilities from financial institutions.
“In our contract, the baseline amount of production that African Improved (AIF) was supposed to take was 20 tonnes, but that amount could increase to up to 100 tonnes,” Mr Mugera added.
According to him, the market currently offers Rwf160 per kilo, against Rwf195 that requires a farmer to harvest one Kilo, leading to losses. “It would be ideal if we at least get paid Rwf250 per kilo for sustaining our daily operations, because some of us get this money from the banks, that charges interest as well,” Twahirwa observed.
Ihute Udasigara Musebeya, a maize farming cooperative in Burera district has also been stuck with 30 tonnes out of 40 tonnes they harvested after their potential buyer, AIF, took 10 tonnes of their production.
“Some of us acquired loans either from the banks or with Tubura to do maize farming but with the markets becoming a challenge, servicing those loans will require extreme measures, which might see some farmers selling out their plots,” Celestin Ntamukunzi, the president of the cooperative told Rwanda Today.