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Gicumbi seed multipliers hail the Project's Financial support

Irish potato seed multipliers in Gicumbi district are among farmers whose climate-resilient projects are set to benefit from the Rwf1.3 billion Community Adaptation Facility (CAF). Local farmers have been facing challenges of high cost and shortage of Irish potato seeds and some were importing seeds from other countries.

The fund to help address the shortage of Irish Potato seeds, officials said, was initiated by Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) and financed by the World Bank. Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA), which started operations in 2013, has so far mobilized $247 million and supported 46 green investments across the country.

In the first phase of the Community Adaptation Facility, about Rwf700 million were disbursed to 16 cooperatives in the agriculture and forestry Sectors and more than Rwf600 million is expected to be disbursed by March this year according to project managers.

The fund is also aimed at promoting crops that are resilient to climate change effects in nine sectors of Gicumbi district. Climate-resilient Irish Potato seeds are being multiplied by farmers to curb seed imports from other districts such as Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu, and neighboring Uganda.

“The Irish Potato seed multipliers are among the beneficiaries so as to address the shortage of seeds that were usually imported. Previously there were no Irish Potato seed multipliers in Gicumbi district. These multipliers will supply the seeds to other farmers,” said Emile Nsengumuremyi , an expert in soil erosion control and climate resilient agriculture in the project.
Green Gicumbi Project is also aimed at promoting crops that are resilient to climate change effects in nine sectors of Gicumbi district.

He said the farmers are urged to apply for grants to implement climate-resilient projects.
“The potato seeds are currently expensive as one Kilogramme has reached Rwf1,000. Multiplying the seeds in farmers’ own farms will address the shortage and high price in Gicumbi district as it can decrease to Rwf600. The seeds also adapt to the district’s climate,” he said.

The seeds, he said, could provide between 18 and 20 tonnes per hectare, an increase from four tonnes when they were growing a poor variety.

The climate finance scheme which is a sub-program of Green Gicumbi project, he added, also aims to transfer knowledge to other districts through climate-resilient agriculture.

Kotemika, a farmers’ cooperative in Kaniga sector of Gicumbi district, is one of six cooperatives that were financed to multiply Irish Potato seeds.

The cooperative multiplied Irish Potato seeds on 20 hectares and are about to harvest them.
Abiella Niyonsaba, one of the cooperatives’ members, from Rukurura cell in Kaniga cell, said that it is their first time to multiply Irish Potato seeds in the area.

“We will no longer import Irish Potato seeds,” she said.

Josephine Zaninka, another farmer, said that some of the imported Irish Potato seeds were not suitable for the land which could lead the farmers to losses.

“The Potato harvest from such seeds was not attractive to consumers. We could sell one Kilogramme at Rwf200. Now, the new seed variety is helping to sell the harvest at a double price because consumers find it their favorite on the market,” she said.

Jean Ndagijimana, another farmer from Mulindi cell said that some imported seeds could not germinate since they were not suitable for local soil.

“The seed known as Kinigi which we are multiplying is promising. We want to multiply seeds, sell on the local market and export them,” he said.

Rwanda produces 916,000 tonnes of Irish potatoes every year, making it the third most popular food crop produced in the country. Potatoes cover 3.9 per cent of the total cultivated area.

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