Rwanda: Vertically stacked strawberry farm focusing on hydroponics

Rwanda needs at least Rwf 68.5 billion in the next two years or so to invest in hydroponic farming. The Ministry of Agriculture says it has earmarked 38.1 hectares on which to conduct hydroponic farming by 2024 as it steps up efforts to increase food production. However, in order to achieve its objectives, the government will have to look for private partners.

The ministry has prioritized vegetables, fruits, and cassava as well as sweet potatoes to be grown under the hydroponic farming technique.

Charles Bucagu, the Deputy Director-General of Agriculture Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, says that the system is meant for high-value commodities or production of disease-free seeds.

Currently, Rwanda uses nutritive solutions (liquid fertilizers used in hydroponic farming) imported from Kenya. “We are using hydroponics for potato seed production in our research station in Musanze District,” he said.

The government has also pledged to invest Rwf 8.2 billion in research infrastructure by upgrading and constructing greenhouses and hydroponic facilities by 2024. The soilless system is already under trial for the production of vegetables and fruits like strawberries in the Muhanga District. “This technology is for commercial farming, requiring intense knowledge-based technology practical for research and commercial production schemes,” Bucagu said.

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