Lending to agriculture, and the yield of major crops namely beans, maize, soybean are far from the attainment of Government’s set targets under the National Strategy for Transformation (NST) due to come to an end next year, recent data indicate.
According to the 2021-2022 report by the Ministry of Agriculture, the midterm evaluation of NST1, indicates where the sector performed well vis-à-vis to the strategy targets by 2024, and also shows areas lagging behind that need special interventions.
These include productivity of major crops (beans, maize, soybean), agriculture loans, which were among low-performing indicators, the report observed.
The maize production target by 2024, was 2.94 tones per hectare, but the current status showed that the quantity for this crop was 1.6 tones, or 54 per cent of the envisaged amount.
For beans, production was even lower as it was 0.7 tones, or about 32 per cent of the targeted 2.22 tones by 2024.
Regarding Soya beans, production was 0.5 tones per hectare, or 39 per cent of the envisaged 1.28 tones.
Another area with low performance is the credit to agriculture sector as percentage of total loans provided by financial institutions in the country. The report revealed that while the targeted agriculture share of total loans is 10.4 per cent, it was just at 4.8 per cent – or less than half of the rate aimed at.
Marie Jeanne Ntirenganya, a farmer from Nyagatare District said that lack of quality seeds, and the hike in fertilizer prices were among the major challenges for farmers.
“Because of high fertilizer increase, and low-quality seeds, there is poor yields, which limits farmers’ profit on their investment,” she said, adding that drought also negatively affect farm productivity, especially on hillside farms where irrigation is too expensive.