Local leaders of Nasho Sector of Kirehe District have ordered farmers in the area to cut down about 30 hectares of Sorghum that was almost ready for harvest.
The sorghum had been illegally planted on land reserved for pasture.
Farmers have in return been given grass seeds provided by Rwanda Agriculture Board to plant on the land.
The sorghum farmers admitted they did wrong to plant sorghum on the land reserved for pastures but say that their sorghum should not have been cut down because they planted it with full knowledge of the local leaders.
According to a local radio Izuba Radio, farmers argued that they had invested a lot of money in planting sorghum.
“I could not cut down the four hectares sorghum in which I invested almost Rwf 200,000 while I was expecting the benefit from its production,’’ said one farmer.
The farmers pleaded with local leaders to allow them a period of two-months to harvest their sorghum, but their request was turned down by local leaders.
“I planted this sorghum when the local leaders were around,” said another resident whose sorghum was cut down.
During the recent community work Umuganda, residents in the area were asked by leaders to go and cut down the sorghum illegally planted on the land but the residents refused.
Afterwards, the local leaders ordered the farmers who had planted them to cut down the sorghum themselves and a fine was imposed for those who would not respect the decision.
Consolee Kanzayire, the Executive Secretary of Nasho Sector said the farmers were asked to cut down the sorghum as they didn’t abide by the instructions not to plant crops in the land reserved for pastures in December 30, 2017.
“We held a meeting with the pasture owners and agreed that no one would cultivate on this land in the three months, according to the law but later, we found that other people, not the pasture owners had already planted sorghum,” she said.
Mrs. Kanzayire adds that though the farmers claim that they had agreed with the pasture owners, there are no signed documents to prove.
“We called them and asked them to remove their crops because they planted them well aware that it was not acceptable,” she said.