SADC; floods; rainy

Shorter 2017/’18 rainy season for Rwandan farmers

The Rwanda Meteorology Agency (RMA) has advised farmers to start planting their crops now amid indications that the 2017/’18 rainy season will be much shorter than usual.

The RMA says the next 3 months will be characterised by lower than normal rains in the Eastern, Western and Southern provinces of the country.

RMA Director General John Ntaganda Semafara said normal rains are expected over the Northern Province and parts of the Western Province. He said the erratic rainfall pattern was due to the rise of La Niña weather phenomenon, which is associated with unpredictable weather.

He said the rains, which started last week, came early due to a series of tropical cyclones that hit the Indian Ocean between December 2017 and January 2018.

Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) head of Crop Production and Food Security Telesphore Ndabamenye said farmers should plant immediately.

“We urge farmers to plant now so that by the time the rain stops, their crops will be at a level where they can grow without difficulty. We encourage our farmers, especially those in Eastern Province, to embrace irrigation and water harvesting so that they can irrigate their crops in case the rains stop prematurely,” he said.

The government wants to expand the size of national farmland under irrigation from 48 000 hectares to at least 102 000 hectares by 2022.

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