BANANA CROPPING SYSTEMS AND PROFITABILITY ANALYSIS IN RWANDA: CASE STUDY OF NGOMA AND RUSIZI DISTRICTS
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Banana is by far the dominant food crop in Rwanda in terms of value of production consumption and socio-economic value. The crop is grown all over the country by small-scale farmers in mixed cropping systems and production is predominant in Eastern and Western provinces. Banana significantly contributes to household income, food security, and regional trading. This study investigates banana cropping systems in Rwanda and their profitability in Ngoma and Rusizi districts. The specific objectives of the study were to: identify banana cropping systems in Ngoma and Rusizi districts; analyze the profitability of banana cropping systems; and determine main actors intervening in banana production systems. Data was collected through structured questionnaire administered to 200 farmers selected purposively. MS Excel 2010 and SPSS were used for the data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used for describing the data. The findings of the study show that there are two main banana cropping systems: monocropping and banana intercropping with different crops. Results of cost-benefit ratio indicate that banana intercropping with vegetables is more profitable (5.35) while banana mono-cropping is profitable (4.84) for large-scale producers. Banana intercropping with coffee, common bean and cassava had varying profit margins of 4.79, 4.44 and 4.03 respectively. In smallholders’ system, agroforestry species, fruits and leguminous woody are scattered inside banana farms while in large-scale system agroforestry species are planted out of the field and on contour lines to prevent wind damage. The findings identified main interveners include government agencies (e.g.MINAGRI, RAB, local government), NGOs (e.g. One Acre Fund known as ‘TUBURA’, churchs, farmer cooperatives and local traders. Farmers in Rusizi District reported Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) and heavy rain as major production challenge while those in Ngoma District reported wind and drought. The research recommend banana intercropping as profitable production system for smallholders in Ngoma and Rusizi Districts as this will further increase food diversification, mitigate the problem of pests and diseases, improve soil fertility and prevent erosion.