Farmers urged to adopt ‘lucrative’ long grain rice
Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has urged rice farmers to adopt long grain rice due to its high demand and the high price it fetches. This was said on Tuesday by RAB General Director Patrick Karangwa while addressing an issue raised by farmers that they do not have market for their harvest, especially in Nyagatare.
He advised them to adopt and grow the long grain rice to meet its high demand and to increase their benefit as that variety is now at a high price.
“We have 37 rice varieties. Of those, 29 are long grain, while only eight are short grain known as Kigoli but still short grain rice occupies 60 per cent of rice grown in Rwanda. Farmers tend to prefer growing kigoli for its higher yield. However, long grain rice is lighter and has higher market preference. We have stepped up efforts to streamline rice seed systems and extension,” he said
“Kigoli is not a bad variety as some think. It is also delicious. But its preference has been higher in the countryside, while long grain is most preferred in towns and restaurants”.
He noted that there is no lack of good varieties in Rwanda. It is just which ones are being used by farmers mostly.
“We have many varieties but now that it’s obvious that our consumers like long grain rice, we have to meet their demand,” he noted.
Karangwa also said that MINICOM has now set prices that help address the problem; long grain price is assigned a higher price. Farmers are now expected to grow more the long grain rice. Long grain for Rwf290 and short grain Rwf270.
David Claudian Mushabe, The Mayor of Nyagatare District, said that they are aware of that problem and are working with concerned organs to address it.
“There are three cooperatives that still have no market. More than a half of their harvest is still in stores. We know the problem and we are working on it. Besides, we are also encouraging farmers to adopt the long grain rice to meet the demand as it is the one most popular in Rwanda,” he noted.
Appolinaire Gahiza the President of Rwanda Rice Farmers Federation (FUCORIRWA) said farmers like the short variety because of its higher yield and resistance to disease.
“RAB has many varieties but may not match with our climate and could cause losses. That is the main reason for not growing other varieties. Meanwhile, we keep on sensitizing farmers to grow what consumers want,” he emphasised.