Farmers across the country have been urged on post-harvest handling activities to avoid effects of rains on their harvest in January and February 2021.
The advisory is contained in the national climate outlook by Rwanda Meteorology Agency which shows that there are chances of normal to below normal rains across most parts of the country.
Southwestern parts of the country are likely to experience slightly enhanced rainfall compared to the other parts of the country even though it is below the long term meanwhile the remaining parts will experience normal rainfall, Aimable Gahigi, an announcement signed by the Director-General of Rwanda Meteorology Agency explained.
“The expected rainfall is mostly associated with the topographic nature of the country coupled with neutral conditions for Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) with moderate la Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean throughout the month of February,” the outlook explains.
The rainfall is between 250-300 mm in Nyamasheke district and most parts of Rusizi district and southwestern of Nyamagabe district.
The rainfall ranging between 150-200 mm is expected in Northern Province in the districts of Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi, Gakenke and Rulindo while in the western province it is expected in the districts of Rubavu, Nyabihu and remaining parts of Ngororero and Rutsiro.
The same quantity is expected in the districts of Gisagara, Ruhango, Muhanga, Kaminyi and parts of Nyanza and eastern parts of Huye and Nyaruguru as well as Kigali city districts, northeastern parts of Bugesera, northern parts of Ngoma and southern parts of Rwamagana.
The rainfall between 100-150 mm is expected in Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, northern part of Rwamagana, southern Bugesera, Ngoma and most parts of Kirehe while 50-100 mm rainfall is forecast in the south of Kirehe District.
Normally the months of January and February are the harvesting season for crops planted in Season A.
Rwanda Meteorology Agency has, therefore, advised Relevant authorities to put in place both preventive and mitigation strategies to cope with rainfall effects by considering post-harvest handling activities
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, at least 493 post-harvest infrastructures were constructed and 17 mobile dryers purchased in 2020.
However, there is still room for improvement in terms of investing in post-harvest techniques, according to farmers.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, in 2019, indicate that post-harvest losses can reach up to 20 per cent for cereals and 40 per cent for fruit and vegetables in Africa.