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Rwanda to commence apple production

The Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda has, through the National Agricultural Exports Board, initiated a programme to commence apple cultivation in the country.

François Muhizi, the official in charge of fruits at NAEB, said his institution has procured 6,000 apple seedlings from Uganda already and that they would be purchasing a further 6,000 soon.

This was, he said, just the start of the programme and more plantings wuld follow later in the year.

"NAEB has so far identified five districts including Gicumbi, Gakenke, Burera, Musanze and Ngororero as areas suitable for growing of apples. I believe that this would help the government in reducing the money spent on imported apples" Muhizi noted.

The programme has been funded by a group of investors from Turkey. Currently apples in the country are most often imported from South Africa and Uganda.

Muhiziz said the necessary trials had already been carried out.

He said there was an available budget of around Rwf400 million ($670,000 US) that would also be channelled into the development of other fruit and vegetable industries in the country.

The Permanent Secretary in the agriculture ministry, Ernest Ruzindaza said that apple farming would also facilitate various government efforts to alleviate cases of malnutrition in the country.

"The objective of this initiative is to reduce the importation of apples because Rwanda has the capacity to produce them instead of importing them."

Retailers in the country have suggested that the move will bring down the prices to a level that is affordable to the average Rwandan.

Source: allafrica.com

Publication date: 4/27/2012


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