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Cablegate: Food Security Stable in Rwanda

VZCZCXRO0336
PP RUEHGI RUEHRN
DE RUEHLGB #0624 2751548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021548Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6338
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP 0080

UNCLAS KIGALI 000624

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR EAID PGOV RW
SUBJECT: FOOD SECURITY STABLE IN RWANDA

1. (U) SUMMARY: Rwandan production of staple food crops has
increased 25 percent since 2006 as a result of agricultural
reforms introduced in 2007, including better distribution of
fertilizers and crop intensification programs. Although food
production is stable for 2009, dependency on adequate
rainfall will continue to dictate food security concerns for
the foreseeable future. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Crops selected for crop intensification programs
including rice, wheat, corn, Irish potatoes and cassava have
shown dramatic gains over the last three years. Wheat
production has increased 233 percent, maize (corn) 168
percent and cassava 268 percent. Between 2008 and 2009 rice
production increased 38 percent, for the first time resulting
in lower prices compared to imported Tanzanian rice.
Speaking to the press on September 24, the Minister of
Agriculture also attributed increased agricultural yields to
improved availability and distribution of fertilizers, and
provision of new seed varieties to farmers.

3. (U) Although gross domestic food production has increased,
production of some crops declined from 2006-2009. Production
of beans, a key source of protein for rural populations,
declined by 17 percent, sweet potatoes declined by 13 percent
and sorghum by 11 percent. Sweet potatoes and sorghum are
staple crops for poor rural families who are chronically food
insecure. Typically these families subsist on farms of less
than one hectare (2.2 acres). Statistics from the Rwanda
Agricultural Development Agency indicate that overall, food
prices have increased by 80 percent from 2006 and 16 percent
relative to 2008, primarily due to increased exports to
neighboring countries.

4. (U) COMMENT: Rwanda remains highly dependent on good
rainfall for its food security. As the country has had good
rains over the last two years, agricultural production has
improved and food security is currently stable. Given
Rwanda's ongoing dependence on rainfall, however, better
irrigation systems, continued improvements in post-harvest
storage facilities, availability of appropriate fertilizers
and expanded extension services will continue to be needed
for longer-term food security. END COMMENT.
CASPER

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