Weatherman tells farmers to brace for heavy rains
Tuesday February 08 2022
Crop farmers in Southern and Eastern districts are bracing for potential losses due to heavy rains that are expected from the next 10 days and better part of February.
The return of floods and landslides also spell doom for thousands of families still trapped in high risk zones across the country.
According to the latest prediction by Rwanda meteorology Agency, enhanced amount of rainfall will likely result in floods and landslides in at least 10 Districts namely Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Gisagara and Huye until February 10.
Similarly, southern parts of Karongi, Bugesera, Ngoma and Kirehe districts are to experience more rains ranging between 150 and 200 milimetres accumulated in ten days.
Weatherman’s forecast for the month of February 2022 show that heavy rains ranging between 200 and 250 milimetres will continue pounding South western part of the country.
Farmers, particularly, expressed fears that the rains could particularly exacerbated the toll on already dampened prospects for the 2022 A agriculture season now in the harvesting phase for staple crops like maize.
Joseph Gafaranga, head of farmers’ federation Imbaraga told Rwanda Today that late and erratic rains, as well as a dry spell that characterized the season Southern and eastern province respectively left farmers counting losses.
“Rains over the past months had helped many who lost crops to the dry spell to resume farming of quick-yielding crop varieties with government support to access inputs, so adverse rains will definitely affect them again,” he said, adding that insured commercial farmers had filed for compensation for losses incurred in 2022 A agriculture season.
Rwanda Meteorology Agency, which linked the imminent adverse rains to influence of Indian Ocean induced tropical depression, urged farmers to opt for appropriate post-harvest practices in a bid to avert potential losses.
“Quick mitigation measures for related disaster management and mitigation activities should be put in place by relevant authorities,” the agency said in its advisory released on February 1.
Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said already, Rwf82.8 million was set aside to start compensating for losses incurred on over 400 hectares of rice and Irish potato crops in the 2022 A season.
It indicated that farmers of 15 affected co-operatives across districts of Rwamagana, Nyagatare and Rubavu would start getting their compensation under the exercise expected schedule to run starting February 3.
“Assessment is still ongoing to tally the losses for maize crops as they are still being harvested,” the ministry said.
A total of 64,840 farmers have been paying premiums under the State susbsidised agriculture insurance scheme for the cover of 14,819 hectares of rice, maize, Irish potatoes, chillies and green beans in 2022 A season.
Heavy rains are estimated to have washed away 2,685 hectares of crops in the first ten months of 2021, according to the latest annual disaster damages data by the ministry of emergency management (MINEMA).
More than 100 lives were lost while 195 were sustained injuries between January and October.