Agriculture Ministry, USAID move to improve agro-inputs access for farmers

By Elias Hakizimana.

As farming season B for 2019 embarks on, Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), the Ministry of Agriculture, Agro Processing Trust Cooperation Ltd (APTC) and USAID Hingaweze project are jointly working together to ensure seeds and fertilizers reach farmers on time.

The joint team gathered over 1,000 agro-dealers, farmers and stakeholders so as to assess the achievements and challenges from the previous season A and preparing for farming season B for 2019 with target to continue improving yields.

The Ministry’s Officials announced that they expect from Season about 57,000 tonnes  of rice harvest, 350,000 tonnes of beans, is 441,000  tonnes of maize produce, 637,000 tonnes of Irish potatoes.

“The harvest is not far from the one from previous season despite drought that hit Ngoma, Bugesera, Kirehe and Kayonza districts,” said Dr. Charles Bucagu, the Deputy Director General in charge of Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture Board.

He urged farmers to starting tilling their land so that they plant on time.

“We are dealing with those in charge of agro-inputs distribution to ensure they reach agro-dealers and farmers on time to avoid recurrence of delays,” he said.

He said over 1.2 million farmers are using Smart Nkunganire to ease access to seeds and fertilizers and more efforts are being pushed to ensure all farmers embrace the system in the future.

The system is a supply chain management system built by BK TechHouse to digitalize agro-input subsidy program.

The Feed the Future-Rwanda Hingaweze USAID-funded project has intervened in training farmers on embracing the system as well as training agro-dealers on compliance with agrochemicals management law.

Daniel Gies, Chief of Party at USAID- Hingaweze project said the project also trains farmers on coping with climate change, decentralizing agro-inputs warehouses, training on post-harvest handling, linking farmers to market, etc.

In order to enhance farmers’ competitiveness and expand access to markets, Hinga Weze is aiming to increase farmers’ access to post-harvest equipment and facilities, market information, and credit and financial services.

USAID also works with RAB and

Rwanda Agriculture Livestock Inspection and Certification Services (RALIS) to prepare a national awareness campaign on fighting aflatoxin through better post-harvest handling which is a highly toxic to humans and animals through foods and feeds they eat.

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity is a five-year, $32.6 million USAID-funded project that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.

Hinga Weze is utilizing innovative approaches to enhance the production of five value chains: high-iron beans, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture.

By 2022, the project will have benefited over 700,000 smallholder farmers in ten target districts of Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma (Eastern Province); Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyamasheke, and Karongi (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province).

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Contact the author: eliashakizimana45@gmail.com

 

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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