Rwanda: Climate change worries farmers on World Food Day (by Jean Paul Ntezimana, for Farm Radio Weekly in Rwanda)

| October 11, 2010

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It is a Thursday morning with bright sunshine and a fresh breeze. Potatoes are heaped on freshly dug land. A farmer inspects them one by one and places them in a bag. Theoneste Havugimana is harvesting his last potatoes of the year.

He says, “I do not remember well the date of World Food Day. However, what I know is that it aims at improving farmers’ life. Unfortunately, we have faced many challenges of climate change this season and I think it will not be easy for us to celebrate.”

Mr. Havugimana is a potato farmer in Cyuve sector, in the Northern Province of Rwanda. He is married with three children. The weather has not been good for farmers this season.

He says, “I would have harvested four tonnes, but now I have two and half only because we did not have enough rain.”

Although Mr. Havugimana is concerned about climate change, he is happy about World Food Day. He is pleased that the world remembers the work that farmers do. He says, “This is the day of farmers and the world will be recognizing or work.”

Muragijimana Felicité is a farmer in Nyange sector in the Northern Province. She thinks this day should be celebrated by communities visiting one another. Each community could offer some of their crops. It would be a great chance for communities to exchange ideas and discuss the farming season.

Mrs. Muragijimana believes that farmers should be represented in World Food Day ceremonies. They could talk about climate change and how communities adapt to it. She says, “The weather has changed so much. Farmers … should address the challenges.”

Mrs. Muragijimana suggests techniques to adapt to climate change, such as water harvesting and soil conservation. Meanwhile, she will celebrate the day at home eating good food with her children.