Farmers seek to raise farmgate prices amid soaring costs | The new times

The minimum price at which unprocessed rice must be purchased from farmers has fallen, which has negatively affected the income farmers derive from their produce.

The price of one kilogram of unprocessed short grain rice was reduced from Rwf 270 in 2019 to Rwf 259 in June 2021, while that of long grain rice was reduced from Rwf 290 to Rwf 279.

Yet farmers in Bugarama Plain, Rusizi District of Western Province, say a kilogram of processed rice costs between Rwf 1,200 and 1,500 depending on the type, meaning they spend more to produce this type of food.

Currently, local farmers pay Frw 768 for one kilogram of urea, which is an increase of about 40% from Frw 462 in 2020.

For DAP (Diammonium Phosphate), one kilogram costs Rwf 832, an increase of 42% from Rwf 480 in 2020, while that of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium), increased by around 30% to 882 Rwf against 620 Rwf during the same period. .

In addition, farmers in remote areas where transport costs are higher might pay a higher price than that set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

For example, Jonathan Niyizanderera, a farmer from Bugarama plain in Rusizi district said that one kilogram of urea costs Rwf 950, NPK costs Rwf 1,000 and DAP is Rwf 980.

“As the investment and labor required for production increases, one kilogram of (unprocessed) paddy rice should cost Rwf 450,” Niyizanderera suggested.

Emmanuel Musabyimana, another rice farmer, also said that based on the high cost of production, one kilogram of unprocessed long grain rice should be priced at Rwf 450 and short grain rice should be Rwf 360. .

“It can help us get an adequate income,” he said.

In addition to high fertilizer costs, Musabyimana said even the price of rice seed is high, which contributes to higher production costs.

“This agricultural season, we bought rice seed at Rwf 1,050 per kilogram, but the current price of unprocessed rice is Rwf 259,” he said.

Rice price review expected next week

Jean Damascene Rwamwaga, president of the Federation of Rwanda Rice Farmers, told The New Times that the federation was engaging with relevant entities to revise prices, expressing hope that they are likely to rise for this agricultural season’s harvest.

Cassien Karangwa, director of domestic trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told The New Times that normally the price of rice is fixed every season to take into account the farmers’ investment, their profit margin and the performance of the rice industry.

A technical committee is then to discuss possible new prices, Karangwa revealed, adding that the new price will be announced by mid-June this year.

High transport cost

Peter Uwamahoro, vice president of the Rwanda Forum of Rice Millers, said processed rice prices have been driven by the rise in petroleum products occasioned by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Rising fuel prices have tripled transportation costs for imported agricultural products. Rwanda depends on rice shipments from Pakistan and Thailand, among others, to supplement local production.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the local demand for rice is estimated at 145,000 tons per year, while the national supply accounts for around 40%. The 60 percent shortfall is met by imports.

Another factor in the increase in local rice prices, he said, is that Tanzania, which is one of the main exporters of rice to Rwanda, has experienced production problems during the season. previous year, which affected rice imports from Rwanda.

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