Farmers in agony over heavy downpour disrupting post harvest activities

Part of their corn plantation was also affected by the protracted drought, according to Nepomuscene, who added that the unusual rains are exacerbating the problem. [Image: courtesy]
Farmers across the country are bracing for lower yields and lower incomes as a result of abnormally severe rains disrupting postharvest activities.

Previously, January and February were marked by moderate dry periods or light showers, but due to climate change, the country is now experiencing substantial rainfall.
Farmers who spoke to journalists claimed the disturbance in postharvest processing is producing aflatoxin in grains, which will result in lower prices and possibly rejection by buyers.

 

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by certain molds in food that can harm the liver and cause cancer.

“When a harvest is tainted with aflatoxin, it fetches reduced prices or is completely rejected by purchasers,” said Jean Nepomuscene Nsabimana, President of Cooperative Twitezimbere in Rwamagana district’s Musha sector.

Due to delayed harvesting, the cooperative, which represents 116 farmers, expects its maize production to fall below 40 tonnes this season, down from 50 tonnes last year.

Part of their corn plantation was also affected by the protracted drought, according to Nepomuscene, who added that the unusual rains are exacerbating the problem.

In line with data from the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management, disasters eroded at least 484 hectares of crops between January and February 19, impacting post-harvest activities at the same time.

“We were not expecting this kind of rain because we used to face a short dry season in the same period that enables farmers to harvest and dry their produce,” Nepomuscene said, “It is now difficult to harvest in rains because the crops are still wet.”

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