11 March 2011

Rwanda: Agro-Information System Launched

Kigali — The Ministry of Agriculture, yesterday, launched a web-based information system that will provide quality statistics on food and agriculture at the national and sub-national levels.

The application, Country START, is an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization with the financial support of $5.6m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is aimed at improving quality, accessibility, relevance and reliability of food and agriculture statistics in 17 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa.

Jean Marie Vianney Nyabyenda, the national coordinator of country START Rwanda said that the process will establish and strengthen institutional networks, ensure harmonization and standardization of scattered institutional statistical data from various sources.

He added that the system will also facilitate planning and decision-making by policy makers and analysts, especially in the fight against hunger and poverty.

"For Rwanda where agriculture is the backbone of the national economy, accurate and detailed information on food and agriculture is crucial for planning and progress towards great food security in the country," Nyabyenda said.

He added that the initiative is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's agricultural development programme, which is working with various partners to provide millions of small farmers in developing countries with tools and opportunities to increase their yields and improve their social welfare.

Nyabyenda noted that the foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain from seeds and soil to farm management and market access so that the fight against hunger and poverty is sustained over the long term.

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