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Rwanda Could Face Food Crisis After Rains Destroyed Crops

Rwanda could face food shortages after major food producing areas had most of the crops destroyed from the fields by the recent heavy rains.

For example the Northern Province known for producing the largest share of the country’s Irish potatoes has lost more than thousand hectares of crops.

The Price of a kilogram of Irish potatoes has began rising from 210/kg to current 250/kg.

A total of 1,602 hectares of crops were destroyed in this region- this is an indicator of forthcoming food shortages; Provincial authorities have warned.

A combined tally from all the provinces of the country could offer a gloomy picture.

According to the national risk Atlas, Rwanda’s total arable land is only 1.4 million hectares. Each household at least cultivates on less than 0.9ha of land.

The recent heavy rains across the country have significantly left a rugged path owing to the landslides, floods and strong wind storms.

The Northern Province is made up of five districts including; Burera, Gakenke, Rulindo, Gicumbi and Musanze.

For Musanze district, 904 ha of crops were severed by a combined assault of heavy rains, floods and landslides.

Burera district lost a total of 250 ha of crops in the recent disasters. Rulindo district farmers also lost 448 ha of crops.

Irish potato garden washed away by Floods in Musanze district. Every year this part of the country is hard hit by floods and landslides

Every year natural disasters, such as; floods, landslides, drought challenge agricultural production in the country of which 84% of the population are employed in Agriculture.

Rwanda has two agricultural seasons: September to February (Season A) and March to July (Season B). But with recent floods and torrential-like rains and landslides, the harvest for season B has been significantly obstructed.

“The floods and landslides which recently affected Rulindo District will reduce 30% of agricultural export products in the district,” said Prosper Murindwa, the district vice mayor for economic affairs.

The climate induced disasters did not only destroy crops but have also destroyed houses, public infrastructure and lives.

For Musanze district property worth Rwf 1.4 billion was destroyed.

A Report shown by Burera District officials indicates that property worth Rwf 606,883,400 was damaged by the floods from various streams originating from Muhabura Volcano.

Farmers in Burera district had sought bank loans worth Rwf 39,270,000 and will have to pay.

Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi the province’s governor, however, said that local government officials are set to negotiate with banks to see if payment duration may be extended.

Rulindo District suffered mega landslides associated with floods which took away the lives of 17 persons and property valued at Rwf 199,626,600 was damaged including 556 houses destroyed and 2265 latrines collapsing.

“My house was destroyed by floods, a plot of potatoes and beans which would assist my family’s living in these days all vanished and we are expecting to starve,” Said Fidel Kamugisha, a father of 6 from Gacaca Sector, Musanze District.

Governor Gatabazi has assured his residents that they are working closely with different development partners including the national task force for food security to tackle problems brought by recent landslides and flood in the 5 districts.

Philippe Habinshuti said that by May, the death toll had reached 200 people succumbing to floods and landslides.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDMAR), recently provided basic materials worth Rwf 23million comprise of tents, blankets, hygiene kits and kitchenware to Burera district locals who were affected by last month floods.

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