Farmers are angry the government has scraped sorghum off the list of priority crops in the country.
On February 3, in a meeting with representatives of farmers pleaded to the civil society press the government to consider sorghum among major crops.
Sorghum is traditionally a popular crop across the country. The crop is predominantly used as main ingredient for local brews.
But a new government policy declared sorghum not a priority crop, triggering anger and resistance from thousands of farmers across the country.
Under Rwanda’s land consolidation policy, specific crops, such as maize, soybeans, cassava, rice, wheat, banana and Irish potatoes, were chosen for cultivation in particular zones of the country.
State Minister for Agriculture, Tonny Nsanganira, told KTPress, the choice of crops is purposely meant to “help farmers produce for the market and thus fight poverty.”
However, Charles Cyubahiro, a farmer from Gatsibo says,“We want the ministry to revise the decision.”
Meanwhile, Minister Nsanganira insisted sorghum was not abolished.
He said Rwandans can still grow it but should not give it priority on extensive land where other crops can improve their livelihood.
Straton Nsanzabaganwa, the chairman of the association of Rwandan elderly people has advised farmers to embrace the policy because it will help them earn more money from the identified crops.
He said if buyers were give the choice to buy 10kg of Irish potatoes and 10kg of sorghum, they would clearly go for Irish potatoes.
Nsanzabaganwa said, “Sorghum can no longer serve neither commercial nor subsistence purpose in Rwandan community, unlike the past.”