Agriculture sector output grew by a dismal 1% and contributed 23% to Rwanda’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2022, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda. Rwanda (NISR).
This weak growth of this key sector represents a decline of 6 percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2021 when agriculture grew by 7% and contributed 27% to GDP.
Figures released Thursday, June 16, 2022 in Kigali show Rwanda’s GDP grew by 7.9% to Rwf3,025 billion (over Rwf3,000 billion) in the first quarter of 2022, from Rwf2,588 billion. Frw in the same quarter of 2021.
The three contributors to growth in the first three months of 2022 are services with 47%, agriculture with 23% and industry with 22%, while net direct taxes accounted for the remaining 8%.
Production in the industrial sector increased by 10 percent, while that in the service sector increased by 11 percent.
Ivan Murenzi, Deputy Director General of NISR said: “So you would say that our growth of 7.9% for the first quarter is mainly attributed to growth in services and manufacturing. Agriculture performance of 1% is lower than previous quarters.
Speaking on the case of agriculture, he said the low growth rate can be explained in several ways. These include the production of food crops which decreased by 1% due to the production of cereals and vegetables which fell by 4% and 9% respectively.
Yet production of export crops fell by 14 percent, due to a 41 percent drop in coffee production.
However, tea production increased by 3 percent.
Yet, over the same period of 2021, production of both food crops and export crops increased by 7%.
Murenzi said the performance of agriculture for the first quarter is tied to the performance of the agricultural season for 2022, which ran from September last year to February this year.
“There have been different weather-related shocks that have affected agriculture, in different parts of the country, resulting in lower production of some food crops. And you see a link between the performance of agriculture and therefore the prices of goods in the market which have also increased,” he said.
Specifically, for coffee, he said the early months of the year are still not the best season for coffee production.
“We may expect production to be better in the coming months, given the general coffee production patterns,” he said.
Talk to The new timesFulgence Sebazungu, the president of the Rwanda Coffee Cooperatives Federation (RCCF) said the low coffee production could be the result of the first three months of the year not being the harvest time for the harvest. in all parts of the country which cultivates it.
He said that until mid-March this year, only a few districts including Rutsiro, Rusizi, Nyamasheke and Karongi had started harvesting, explaining that usually the main coffee harvest period is April and May. .
“We expect coffee production for the whole of 2022 to be higher than last year as the product is promising,” he said.
Effect of drought on agricultural production
Evariste Tugirinshuti, president of the Federation of Maize Farmers’ Cooperatives in Rwanda, told The New Times that there was a drought earlier this year, which mainly affected agricultural harvests in the Eastern Province, prone to periods of drought.
He said drought hit farms when maize crops started producing cobs in the 2022 agricultural season A, which started in September 2021 and ended in late February 2022.
“Overall, the 2022 agricultural season A maize production has dropped by about 30 percent in Eastern Province,” he said, referring to the effects of drought on crops. .
To help solve the problem, Tugirinshuti said “the area of irrigated farmland should be increased to avoid crop failure during drought.”
On March 16, 2022, during a press conference focusing on the country’s economic recovery, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said this year that Rwanda has experienced disasters, including drought in the Eastern Province, which has reduces agricultural production such as corn and beans, as well as fodder. for cattle.
“We have set up a special irrigation mechanism for about 7,000 hectares with the maize and bean plantations, so even though the maize production will drop, the drop is expected to be moderate – about 6%,” said- he said, indicating that it would decrease from the 378,000 tons that were harvested last year to around 357,000 tons this year.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Uzziel Ndagijimana said agriculture is sensitive to weather conditions, but said the country was increasing investment in irrigation to ensure the sustainability of food production.
“In the long term, we are trying to solve the problem of climate effects by increasing irrigated land and we will continue to support agriculture to increase productivity,” he said.
Rwanda plans to increase the irrigated agricultural area to 102,284 ha in 2024 from over 60,000 ha in 2021.