In a visit that highlighted the important work of the U.S.-supported African Development Bank (AfDB), a top U.S. official toured a Rwandan milk collection center May 21.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, who is leading the U.S. delegation to the AfDB's 49th annual meeting in Kigali, toured the Rugobagoba Milk Collection Center, near the city. The development of milk collection centers is part of an initiative launched by Rwanda's government and supported by the AfDB to help advance rural development and agricultural productivity and alleviate poverty.
Raskin's visit was described in a May 21 blog post by Treasury Department official Andrew Baukol. Milk containers at the center are shown above.
Touring the center, Raskin saw how it helps the government contribute to job-skills training by teaching farmers how to handle milk, use sanitary equipment and identify markets. Before, individual farmers would sell milk to middlemen or local stores. Now they sell to the collection centers' milk cooperatives, which provide better prices and market access. The collection centers also require that farmers be paid regularly through a bank or savings and credit cooperative, which provides a steady source of income to feed families, pay children's school fees and subscribe to the country's health insurance plan.
The United States has long supported Rwanda's agricultural sector through the AfDB, which has helped construct two-thirds of Rwanda's milk collection centers. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has also provided funding for this program.
Raskin's visit to the center underscored how multilateral development banks are helping countries worldwide meet a range of development goals, from improving agricultural productivity and food security to advancing gender inclusion and leveraging technology for development.