A kilo of high-quality (Irish) potatoes costs around Rwf1,000 in some parts of Kigali, which is double the price from last year. Additionally, a kilo now costs roughly Rwf500 in Rwanda’s north-western region, which is also the nation’s main potato-producing area, up from Rwf200 five years ago (in 2018).
In fact, adding potatoes to one’s meals has increased in price. Irish potatoes are like a food item for the wealthy, according to a Gasabo District resident who wished to remain anonymous.
According to Jean Damascene Ntawushobora, a potato farmer in Nyabihu District, Western Province, the issue affected major potato-producing districts in the northwest of Rwanda; Rubavu, Nyabihu, Musanze, and Burera Districts. From May to August, “we had an unprecedented dry spell,” he claimed, explaining why the price of potatoes of the Kinigi variety shot up.
In comparison to average yields of 15 tonnes per hectare, the farmer only obtained roughly two tonnes of potatoes because of the drought, he claimed.
According to Ntawushobora, who cited locations near Volcanoes National Park, even the produce that was gathered was from potato crops planted in areas where soils have humidity even during the dry season.
Ildephonse Musafiri, the minister of agriculture and animal resources, commented on potato prices and stated that several factors contributed to those rates. He mentioned the drought and the limited access to and availability of high-quality seeds.
On October 10, he was speaking during a session in the legislature.
Musafiri claimed that drought had a negative impact on the production of potatoes in northern Rwanda, where the crop is primarily farmed.
“We used to be fortunate to experience rain in June, July, and August. However, what we are witnessing right now is unparalleled. We wouldn’t have a severe shortage even though it is not the time of year when potatoes are harvested. Even still, there wouldn’t be enough of them (potatoes), he assured lawmakers.