RWANDA – The Rwandese executive has announced plans to disburse 13.6 billion francs (US$12 million) to finance the construction of strategic grain reserves in 2023/2024 to meet future domestic needs.

Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana made the revelation while commenting on the response to the three percent decline in the production of food crops due to poor harvest in the Agriculture Season A after releasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the first quarter of 2023.

A strategic grain reserve is a government stockpile of grain established to enhance food security readiness in case of shortage to curb famine effects.

According to Ndagijimana, this approach should make it possible to better manage the availability of foodstuffs on the domestic market during periods of shortage. 

The announcement comes amid a devastating drought that affected first-quarter production while flooding in May devastated more than 2,000 hectares of crops in the West, North, and South provinces.

In addition, according to Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), the flooding effects followed at least 78,000 hectares of bean crop farms across the country that were affected by dry spells during agricultural season A.

The devastating effects of the drought resulted in a decrease of bean produced in all districts of Southern Province except the districts of Nyaruguru, and Nyamagabe. Affected districts also included Bugesera and other districts of the Eastern Province

Beans are cultivated widely across Rwanda. They are the main staple food in the country, providing households with 32 percent of the required calories and 65 percent of protein.

As earlier reported by Jean Claude Izamuhaye, the Head of the Crop Research and Technology Transfer Department at RAB, in 2020 Season A, beans were cultivated on more than 362,100 hectares, an increase of 21 percent compared to 2019 Season A records.

However, despite the increased hectarage in 2021, the production was 226,570 tonnes, a decrease of 10% from 2019 with an average yield of 626 kilograms (less than a tonne) per hectare.

According to Ndagijimana, the Rwf13.6 billion investment in the Grain Strategic Reserve will, therefore, enable reserving grains during the glut which can intervene when farming production has decreased in the following season.

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