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$62.89 million project to boost smallholders’ agri-exports in Rwanda news

$62.89 million project to boost smallholders’ agri-exports in Rwanda

The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) and partners, on March 1 launched a $62.89 million project to boost smallholder farmer's agriculture exports. The Promoting Smallholder Agro-Export Competitiveness Project (PSAC) will address key challenges faced by smallholder farmers involved in developing agriculture export value chains of coffee, tea, horticulture in Rwanda and enhance the competitiveness of their outputs on target markets.

Supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and various partners including Cordaid, the government of Spain, and Heifer International, among others, this initiative aims to benefit 56,695 households, comprising approximately 255,128 individuals.

“The project promotes gender-transformational changes. At least 40 per cent of the beneficiaries will be women and 20 per cent are female-headed households. At least 30 per cent will be youth targeted by fostering access to wage employment and creating space for youth leadership development in the targeted value chains,” Eric Kabayiza, the single project implementation unit coordinator at NAEB, said.

PSAC will cover 14 districts across Rwanda, spanning Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Nyabihu, Rusizi and Karongi in the Western Province; Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Huye, Nyanza and Ruhango in the Southern Province; Rwamagana and Bugesera in the Eastern Province and Musanze and Rulindo in the Northern Province.

Running until 2028, the initiative aims to bolster Rwanda’s efforts to enhance the livelihoods of rural communities by fostering inclusive and sustainable agri-export value chains. It focuses on expanding the capacity of farmers to engage in climate-resilient agriculture practices while facilitating market access.

Out of the entire project budget, $37.72 million will be allocated to improve the climate-smart production and productivity of specific export-oriented value chains, according to Kabayiza.

“This funding will be directed towards initiatives like bolstering production and productivity for smallholder farmers. The project intends to enlarge and restore plantation areas spanning 8,242 hectares dedicated to coffee, tea, and horticulture. This will involve the adoption of innovative climate-resilient technologies and practices.”

He added that that this encompasses 1,700 hectares dedicated to horticulture (macadamia, avocado, mango, essential oil, and other crops), 2,410 hectares for tea cultivation, and 4,132 hectares for coffee production.

In addition to the aforementioned support, assistance for coffee includes the establishment of hangars for cherry collection, the implementation of eco-friendly drying technologies and facilities, as well as the provision of effluent and solid waste management systems at the cooperative level, along with coffee washing stations.

“We crafted this project with a focus on addressing export-related challenges, with particular emphasis on assisting subsistence farmers and vulnerable, market-oriented producers,” said Kabayiza adding that the project will incorporate supplementary measures to facilitate the involvement of its target demographics in inclusive commercial value chains.

Rwanda will achieve the target to generate about Rwf1.2 trillion from agricultural exports in the fiscal year 2023/2024, considering the performance of the previous financial year, according to NAEB.

According to a June 2023 statistics report by NAEB, Rwanda’s agricultural export revenues amounted to more than $857 million (about Rwf1 trillion) in the fiscal year 2022-2023, against more than $640.9 million in 2021-2022, representing an increase of 33.74 per cent.


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