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Rwanda Fellow

Kate Ojungo

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Rwanda Food Fellows contribute to Rwanda’s agriculture transformation plan

MINAGRI Director General of Planning Dr Chantal Ingabire at a past forum. She recently joined Rwanda Food Fellows for consultative discussions around the PSTA5.

The African Food Fellowship on 9 May 2024 hosted officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) to share insights on the development of the fifth Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA5).

The session, which was graced by the Director General of Planning at MINAGRI Dr Chantal Ingabire, served as a platform for Fellows to contribute ideas into the new strategy, which is now at an advanced stage of formulation. The PSTA5 will guide Rwanda’s priorities in the agricultural sector for the next five years, until 2029. Unlike previous editions, PSTA5 is the first of its kind drafted with a food systems approach at the core, thereby calling for multi-sectoral interventions to achieve a resilient and sustainable agri-food system.

“We really appreciate your (Fellows’) interest in the PSTA5 and we consider you experts in food systems, so this session is part of the consultations we are having for input, exchange, and experience in agri-food systems. We look forward to more consultations before the launch,” said Dr. Ingabire.

As Rwanda inches closer to launching the next phase of the agriculture transformation strategy, the expertise and active role of Food Fellows and other actors in the country have been highlighted as key to a well-thought-out plan and its subsequent successful implementation.

According to Dr. Ingabire, the country’s new agriculture transformation strategy was drafted with vision 2050 in mind and is designed to catalyse the agriculture sector to create wealth where farmers are more professional and market oriented. It is also geared towards realizing the vision of modernized agriculture with increased productivity for livestock and crops farming. In particular, the strategy takes into consideration different commitments and priorities at continental and global level especially in light of challenges such as climate change, biodiversity preservation, land degradation and others.

“We have, for instance, the commitment to Malabo Declaration, and Rwanda was the best performer in the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) implementation. The country is aiming at keeping the momentum, but this time with a different perspective because we committed at the UN Food System summit that we have to adopt a number of game changers. The ambition is really high and the strategies to achieve that should be different and innovative,” said Dr. Chantal.

Particularly, Rwanda seeks to shift focus from land consolidation to creating agglomeration hubs and food basket sites as a way to address challenges around land scarcity, poor farmer organization and high degree of subsistence farming leading to inadequate practices and animal husbandry. The government hopes that the above will help the country to tap into the global export potential of high value products, grow domestic and regional markets, and attract investments that create jobs. Other interventions under the new strategy are in the area of nutrition with the aim of boosting the number of food secure households, while reducing stunting.

According to the ministry, inputs gathered from different stakeholders including Rwanda Food Fellows will make up a final draft of the strategy expected to be sent to high level government officials for approval after completing the costing and economic appraisal phases. Its launch is expected ahead of the next fiscal year in July 2024.

Rwanda Food Fellows indicated that they were keen on leveraging the avenues provided by the new strategy to tackle prevailing challenges to agriculture, ranging from low productivity and post-harvest losses to high stunting rates and malnutrition.

“As the private sector we are looking for opportunities to invest in agribusiness hubs. Given an opportunity we can offer solutions to some of these pertinent issues like malnutrition which remains a concern in the country,” said Kate Ojungo, a Rwanda Food Fellow working in seed production, marketing, and distribution.