APPE-ESAFF RWANDA is concerned with the effects of COVID 19 on small scale farmers after their produces failed to get market due to the lockdown imposed by the Government in a bid to control COVID 19 pandemic.
Rwanda, a small East and central African country was not spared out by the pandemic which has almost affected all sectors of life.
Among those affected include small scale farmers of banana plantations, potato farmers as well as those practicing domestic animals rearing. The Northern province of Rwanda was also affected.
According to Manirakiza Esperance and Nteziryayo Jean Paul who own banana plantations in the Northern province, COVID 19 has severely caused serious impacts on their harvests since they had to sell them if the situation was normal.
However, with the pandemic, the two farmers who practice their agricultural activities in Gakoro cell Rugera sector in Nyabihu District encountered loss due to lack of the market of their banana produce.
In Musanze, also small-scale farming of potatoes went through a similar situation.
These farmers normally sell their produce on local markets and sometimes to the outside market. When COVID 19 erupted, their crops which were to be harvested didn’t get consumers because of the lockdown.
Even if there was no ban on selling food products, however, for their cases are different due most of the fact that there are some consumers who used to come outside including foreigners from neighboring countries to purchase their produce.
To the other hands, these farmers also confirmed that they faced the issue of lack of improved seeds since the nearby station of RAB had no sufficient seeds due the closure of the borders which might have hindered the seed transportation.
NZABARINDA Isaac, a seed multiplier who lives in Kinigi sector said that the COVID 19 has had negative impacts on their work since they didn’t get seeds from RAB station as used to be before the corona virus outbreak.
They said that not only farming activities affected but the chicken rearing sector.
For Mujawamariya Irene who live in Nyange narrates that when the pandemic attacked Rwanda, the cost for eggs immediately went down which led to the loss.
The falling price mostly due to the closure of Hotels and restaurants, according to their testimonies.
While farmers continue to think about what is going to be their future as smallholder farmers, ESAFF RWANDA(APPE) is also bring this issue to the Government and stakeholders’ attention in order to consider it as far as it can cause more impacts on farmers’ living conditions.
MUYOBOKE Rachel, the Chairperson of ESAFF RWANDA(APPE) affirms that based on the situation analysis, the pandemic has caused negative impacts on agriculture and livestock sector especially among small scale farmers.
Muyoboke calls for similar solutions to these farmers as are planned in the post COVID 19 recovery strategy.
This strategic plan includes two-parts, first part consists of; Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy and interventions in specific sectors such as Agriculture, support to Private sector, Infrastructure projects for growth and jobs, Technology and Innovation plus Mining.
The second part is Social Protection Relief and Recovery Plan to #COVID19 (SP-RRP). It aims at fixing the negative effects on the vulnerability of rural and urban households by providing a packaged approach addressing different needs related to the #COVID-19 crisis.
Ever since the country slid into an almost two-month hibernation period under a #COVID-19 lockdown, all sectors of the economy plummeted, causing devastating effects ranging from massive financial loses, business closures and loss of jobs.
MUYOBOKE Rachel, the Chairperson of ESAFF RWANDA(APPE) commends Rwanda’s strategic plan, which she says, should consider also small holder farmers.
With the mission of Promoting small scale farming while preserving the environment ESAFF RWANDA(APPE) operates in 11 districts and 4 provinces in Rwanda. The total number of members is 18,981 of which 7,592 are male and 11,389 are female.
The organization seeks to defend and to protect the socioeconomic interests as well as the welfare of its members, in particular small-scale farmers. APPPE/ESAFF Rwanda also focuses on the vulnerable of society while sensitizing its members about family planning, mainstreaming of Gender in projects and the fight against HIV / AIDS.
These objectives are achieved though the promotion of cultivation of food crops and agricultural production marketing.365