Rwanda’s government says the country urgently needs to find some 30,000 hectares of banana plantations to meet export demand in Europe and the US, the Rwanda News Agency reports.
Rwanda, Africa, cultivates around 100 hectares of bananas, mainly to the east of the country, according to the Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), but more land is needed to grow the ‘Kamparamasenge’ banana species common in Rwanda for markets abroad.
RADA’s Dr Charles Murekezi told a meeting of farmers and agriculture stakeholders last week that markets had been found in France, the UK and the US for this banana type.
But Dr Murekezi encountered resistance from farmers, who said they had been encouraged to cultivate certain products before that had not yielded the benefits they had been promised.
The farmers also expressed concern over the expanding banana wilt disease, which has been ravaging the crop across this region. Banana experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have described the bacteria as “banana HIV”.
Some 500 hectares of banana will be planted by the end of September, according to RADA.