The National Agricultural Exports Board (NAEB) and stakeholders have started a countrywide campaign to distribute more than 4,700 tonnes of fertilisers to coffee farmers in a move geared at increasing coffee production and export volumes.
Pie Ntwari, the head of communications and public relations at NAEB, said they are working with coffee washing stations and other stakeholders to ensure that all farmers get fertilisers during the exercise that started last week.
The agro-exports body is currently collaborating with Coffee Exporters and Processors Association of Rwanda (CEPAR) to ensure that all farmers benefit from the project.
Valens Nkeshimana, the fertiliser fund manager at CEPAR, said the 4,700 tonnes of NPK 22:6:12+3s fertilisers will be applied on more than 82 million coffee trees across the country during the exercise.
The fertiliser has already been delivered to collection centres. “We are doing our best to ensure that all farmers will have applied the fertilisers by the end of November,” Nkeshimana added.
Rwanda fetched $58.5 million (about Rwf49.7 billion) from coffee exports last financial year – July 2016 to June 2017.
Evariste Mutibagirana, a coffee farmer in Rwamagana District, said access to fertilisers is crucial to increase yields.
“However, there is need to guide and monitor farmers to ensure that they are using fertilisers in the most appropriate manner to achieve the desired objective,” he said.
Coffee is the premier export oriented crop of Rwanda and has contributed an average of 24 per cent to total agricultural exports over the last decade.
The crop supports livelihoods of over 400,000 farmers across the country. Over 72 per cent of Rwandans are employed in the agriculture sector.
In July, Naeb entered into a partnership deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under which the organisation will deploy coffee experts to equip local sector players with skills and knowledge on how best Rwanda can enhance coffee production and marketing.
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