A government decision to fix the bride price at three hoes instead of the traditional cow has caused outrage in Rwanda, and it could be reversed by a national congress of the ruling party later this month.

"Three hoes is devaluing a young girl," grumble mothers with daughters of marriageable age in Kigali, the country's capital."Three hoes are worth less than a basket of bananas," an old man from this small Central African country protested.

Parliament's decision on June 4 to fix the bride price at three hoes followed a rapid inflation in the price of a marriageable young woman as more and more parents began demanding cash instead of a cow.

Some fathers were asking as much as 100,000 Rwandan francs (1,350) for their daughters.

The decision to reduce the bride price to a nominal gift was welcomed by most young people, but it is being resisted by the older generation and many stalwarts of the ruling National Revolutionary Movement for Development

Local party congresses in eight of Rwanda's 10 prefectures already oppose the decision and have indicated that it could be overturned at the movement's national congress opening on June 25.

One suggestion being floated is to fix the bride price at one cow, or its equivalent in goods or cash, up to a limit of $270.