The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Programme Generates Rwf20 Billion for Farmers

The agricultural sector generated Rwf20 billion for farmers last year through the Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP), according to a top government official.

The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, said the programme, which is funded by the World Bank increased farmers' capacity and boosted production, which has been vital in improving farmers incomes.

"Today Rwf20 billion is generated from activities that are related to Rural Sector Support project, which is a big injection into the economy," the Minister said

The RSSP is in its third phase and aims at increasing incomes for the rural folks and reduce poverty, thus supporting Rwanda's drive to become a middle income country by 2020.

According to Kalibata, the programme is projected to generate Rwf60 billion by 2016 due to increased agricultural production in targeted marshlands and hillsides as well as strengthening participation of farmers' in market-based value chains.

"I was able to increase my maize production from one tonne to 10 tonnes, and what helps us is that we have access to market," Francine Musabyimana, from Musanze, said.

Experts say that there is need to increase private sector participation in the agricultural sector in order to strengthen the market value chain and also increase production.

However, the minister said; "We have been able to build the capacity of private sector to respond to market needs."

Experts also say that rethinking public-private partnerships, revolutionising agricultural finance, activating markets would increase productivity and boost food security.

"By gathering public- and private-sector leaders to collaborate across borders and industries, we are optimistic that the ultimate result will be a more food secure future," Said Jørgen Ole Haslestad, from Alliance for a Green Revolution.

Moreover, developing structures that incentivize financial institutions to lend to the sector, mainly the rural poor through developing an effective model that would create a platform for different players in the financial system, will increase credit needed to boost agribusiness.

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