The New Times (Kigali)

21 August 2014

Rwanda: Leaders Asked to Cut Red Tape for Investors in Agriculture

The government has reiterated its commitment to implement measures designed to spur growth in the agriculture sector by reducing bureaucracy and other barriers deterring potential investors.

The Minister for Agriculture, Géraldine Mukeshimana, made the remarks on her first tour of Eastern Province, since she assumed office weeks ago.

The minister inspected a number of agriculture projects in the districts of Kayonza and Nyagatare on Tuesday.

Her remarks follow the delay by authorities to grant an Indian firm permission to start up a rice processing factory in Nyagatare, which Mukeshimana said was unacceptable.

"We should all support investors to start off their business. For instance, we short cut bureaucracy with regard to issuance of construction permits, should be everybody's concern," the minister said.

"It is a shame that the company has taken a year or so, without securing permission to construct a rice firm. Unnecessary bureaucracies keep away potential investors... We have to revise this," she told stakeholders.

Mukeshimana said growth remained a central pillar of the country's Vision 2020.

She later visited Muvumba irrigation scheme.

She commended a Rwf4.5 billion project that will see vegetables, tomatoes, maize and bean crops, among others, grown under the land consolidation programme.

"The beneficiaries must own the programmes for the project to be meaningful."

Meanwhile, some residents who were affected by the land consolidation programme complained about the scheme.

Most people around River Muvumba were relocated to create a wider acreage.

Daniel Bwankarikari, 67, said the project left them without houses and food to eat.

"We would all like to see this river utilised to its full potential. But we have to live before we realise that dream... look my house is gone and one hectare of banana plantation is no more. I am in a state of despair. So, how do you expect me to survive, it's pathetic," he said.

Odette Uwamariya, the Governor of Eastern Province, admitted that some people were affected, noting, however, that more friendly measures were expected.

She said a better working procedure to pave way for land consolidation would be forged in the near future.

"There are some people that were inevitably affected... this is however short term and soon they will realise the real benefits of the scheme," she said.

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