The government of Rwanda highlighted that it will not import maize, wheat and soybean seeds in the pending agricultural season.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Gerardine Mukeshimana, seed production efficiency reached 100% in the current season and that is why in the instructions they gave to farmers there are specific seed prices and they no longer help the farmers import but those willing to do so will entirely cover the costs on their own.
Rwanda has be importing nearly 4.900 metric tonnes of improved seeds, mainly from Kenya and Zambia every year, which include 3.500 metric tonnes of maize, 800 metric tonnes of wheat and 600 metric tonnes of soybean at a cost of nearly Rwf6 billion (US$5.93million).
The finances that were being invested in the importation of seeds will be allocated to local seed producers and researchers, and farmers are assured that there will not experience any obstacles be it in supply of quality of the locally produced seed, as mentioned by Gerardine.
“When we look at the different seed varieties we have now, from wheat to soya and also potatoes, it is through the efforts of research that we have been doing, and will continue to do so, in order to have more locally made seeds,” she stated.
According to the president of maize farmers’ federation of Rwanda Evariste Tugirinshuti, the prices of locally produced seeds are between Rwf400 (US$0.40) AND Rwf600 (US$0.59) per kilogramme and those of imported seeds, depending on the variety, are Rwf1.500 (US$1.48) which means, though they have the same productivity, imported seeds are a lot more expensive.
The government invested Rwf2.5 billion ($2.47million) in 2018 for the development of wetlands and for local seed increase of maize and other crops as a way to reduce seed imports.
It is alleged that locally produced seeds are set to produce a minimum of four tonnes per hectare and the maximum is over eight tonnes per hectare.
The country’s investment in encouraging the production of locally produced seeds has become beneficial as the government stated it will not import seeds and this shines a bright light on the sector’s future as there will be immense production and addition to government revenue.