8 February 2013

Rwanda: Change Your Attitudes, Governor Tells Farmers

THE GOVERNOR of the Southern Province, Alphonse Munyantwari, has said there is need to invest in agriculture if the sector is to contribute to the socio-economic development of farmers.

Munyantari told The New Times that farmers ought to consider agriculture as a lucrative business and stop practicing it in the traditional way.

He was speaking after a provincial meeting to prepare for the second farming season, which is due to start soon.

The meeting brought together various stakeholders, among others, district and provincial authorities as well as officials from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (Rab) and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Munyantwari said farmers must change their attitudes from thinking subsistence to building more sustainable families and communities. This, he said, will be possible if farmers adopt and invest in modern techniques.

"Farmers who invest in their activities are the ones to earn a lot of revenues," Munyantwara said.

The governor advised farmers to form cooperatives in order for them to secure loans from banks.

"Setting up strong, well-managed and trustworthy [farmers] cooperatives is one way of gaining banks' confidence," he said. "If a farmer can secure a loan to invest in farming, it is much easier for a well-managed cooperative."

He also encouraged farmers to embrace the land use consolidation and the use of fertilisers to boost their production.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of Rab, Jean-Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, has said preparations ahead of the coming planting season are at an advanced stage.

He said his agency is ready to distribute quality seeds and fertilisers to farmers across the country who need them.

According to Mbonigaba, measures have been taken to avoid delays which have been affecting the exercise in the past.

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