Rwanda: Heavy losses threaten Western Province onion growers

Growers in the Rubavu district of Rwanda are desperate after failing to secure sales options after producing thousands of tons of onions. Currently, onion farmers from six sectors of the district are stranded with 3,850 tons they cannot store safely.

The Rubavu District vice Mayor for Economic Development, Deogratias Nzabonimpa told Kigali Today that they are searching for the market, but none is ready.

“We are negotiating with the private sector in Gisenyi town and Goma town in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We export 12 tons of onions to Goma, but negotiations would reach to an agreement to increase to 20 tons weekly,” Nzabonimpa said.

The officials said they are also looking forward to negotiating with Bukavu town in Southen Kivu for a potential 100 tons weekly market. The concern is however, that both markets cannot take them all, yet onions cannot wait.

“In 2017 and 2018, we had a problem of huge Irish potato harvest, bur vegetable growers were safe. Today, the trend has reversed. Farmers may need to learn market trends,” said Mayor Gilberty Habyarimana.  Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources blamed the lockdown on lack of onions’ market and said they are working with local leaders to get farmers a breakthrough.


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