Rwanda has kicked off research trials on soil status, aimed at developing site specific fertilizer recommendations which will help boost productivity of six selected crops in 27 pilot districts of the country.This falls in the context of boosting crop productivity, as per the National Strategy for Agriculture Transformation targets of 2024, “Rwanda soil information service project”.
The project is implemented by Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resource Development Board(RAB) with an injection of 1.9 billion fund by Bill Gates.
The Six selected crops are Maize, Beans, Wheat, Cassava, Rice, and Irish potatoes.
The coordinator of the project Dr Jules Rutebuka told the media that since the project is entering in the middle of its core objectives, implementation will support the Strategic Plan for Transformation of Agriculture.
The end goal is to largely overcome productivity gaps by developing soil sites, and crop-specific recommendations.
The research trial kicked off this week in the pilot districts of Nyagatare and Gatsibo in Eastern Province, Muhanga, Huye and Nyaruguru, Gisagara in Southern Province.
Other districts in the Northern and Western part of the country will follow this mid December 2021.
Concerning the use of inputs to help Farmers increase productivity hence a lasting solution to poverty alleviation and food security, Dr Rutebuka who coordinates Rwanda soil information service project explained that application of different rates of fertilizers like N.P.K as well as Lime will target areas with acidic soils and central plateau like Nyamagabe.
“This project was designed based on people’s demand, to know the exact amount of inputs to be used in their soil. This will assist in understanding the baseline of soil properties of fertilizer nutrients like Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium hence increasing yield,’’ Rutebuka said.
One of the farmers from Cyabayaga swamp situated in the Rukomo sector, Nyagatare district, Emmanuel Nsanzimana, expressed optimism in this project.
“We are currently harvesting 5 tons of rice per hectare, but basing on the ongoing research trials I hope that we can even harvest over 8 tons,” Nsanzimana said.
“It seems that the input we have been using is not quite appropriate to our farms.”