Agriculture is a priority sector for Rwanda’s economic development, contributing 31% to the national GDP and employing over 70% of the population. Rwanda’s 2050 Vision for Transformation aims to replace subsistence agriculture with fully monetized and technology-intensive commercial agriculture. To achieve this vision, key investments are needed to strengthen the entire agribusiness value chain, from primary production and commodity processing to value addition, distribution, and retail.
However, Rwanda has yet to seize the full economic benefits of strategic investment in agribusiness development. Value addition through processing, storage, transport, wholesaling, retailing, and other functions needs to be drastically improved. Bottlenecks such as a lack of information and low technological capacities for post-production processing and packaging are preventing producers from meeting quality requirements and accessing high-value markets. These challenges often result in high levels of post-harvest losses, discouraging the production of nutrient-rich perishable foods and hampering dietary diversity for a growing population. The inadequateness of transport logistics at the domestic level also has crucial effects on export competitiveness, resulting in bottlenecks and delays.
To overcome these challenges, actors in the food tech and trade space have a significant role to play. There is an opportunity for market infrastructure developers to enhance capacity by providing adequate infrastructure and improving access to technologies and infrastructure for preserving food quality. Investing in logistics systems, such as cold chain vehicles and feeder roads, can also lower costs of aggregation, technology, and post-harvest handling practices. Other opportunities to transform the sector include increasing the scale of production through private investments, improving market linkages and logistics services, and increasing volumes and quality supply from small-scale producers.
Brokers can facilitate market access and price information for producers, traders, and consumers. Information technology will also be necessary for improving market information flow, service delivery, financial inclusion, climate risk adaptation, and farmer feedback. These measures are essential to guarantee an enhancement of the market value chains, especially for more perishable products.
Call to food systems leaders
Rwanda faces challenges in food technology and trade that will require the participation of multisector actors in addressing them. The African Food Fellowship aims to bring together aspiring food systems leaders with a passion for improving food technology and trade, being one of the most effective ways to address the aforementioned challenges. If you belong to any of the communities below you would greatly benefit from our Food Systems Leadership Programme.
- Producer/member of farmer of associations
- Provider of cold room and food-preserving technologies
- Food processors/technologists
- Tech, finance, and investors for value addition
- Food trader
- Compost/waste aggregators
- Policymakers in Food Technology and Trade
Food, Tech & Trade
The African Food Fellowship is looking for creative ways to stimulate the mid-stream sector of agri-business that will contribute to a fair and competitive agricultural sector in Rwanda.
Access to Nutritious Foods
Recognising the importance of a diverse and healthy diet, we acknowledge Rwanda’s potential to transform its horticulture and livestock sectors for improved socio- economic outcomes.
Sustainable Land Use
We are looking for Rwandan food system leaders to develop and implement sustainable strategies to feed the growing population while preserving the environment.