The New Times (Kigali)

24 May 2012

Rwanda: WFP to Purchase Cereals From Country

The World Food Programme (WFP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, committing to purchase the country's cereals.

The agreement was signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ernest Ruzindaza and the Deputy Country Director of WFP, Jan Delbaere, at the ministry's headquarters in Kigali.

Delbaere said the organisation would buy at least 20,000 and 10,000 metric tonnes of maize and beans, respectively.

"Rwanda has high quality agricultural produce and it is in this regard that WFP decided to sign an MOU with MINAGRI to begin purchasing maize and beans from this country," he said.

According to Delbaere, Rwanda is the second Sub-Saharan Africa country, after Tanzania, to sign an agreement to sell agricultural produce to WFP.

He said the foodstuffs purchased under the agreement would be distributed to various refugee camps in countries like Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.

The official said his organisation has been working with MINAGRI to improve the quality of agricultural production by offering training to farmers and agro-business dealers.

"According to current statistics, there is tremendous progress by the Rwandan government in as far as increasing agricultural production is concerned, and I encourage other countries in the region to take this lesson because it will help the region to be food secure in the future," Delbaere noted.

Ruzindaza said the agreement presents Rwandan farmers with a ready market for their produce.

"The MOU we have today signed with WFP is an opportunity for farmers and their cooperatives to get a market for their produce, and I am optimistic that it will improve their welfare, economically and socially".

He added that his ministry would continue to provide technical assistance to farmers across the country on how best to improve both the quality and quantity of their output through use of fertilisers and adhering to the land consolidation programme.

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