GATSIBO – The World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the Japanese government, has launched US$1million ‘Purchase for progress’ programme in Gatsibo district, Eastern province.
According to WFP officials, P4P is a programme that will purchase local farmers’ produce that will be used to feed refugees in and outside the country.
The programme was officially launched by in Kabarore sector WFP country director, Abdoulaye Balde, and the acting Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Kunio Hatanaka.
In the first phase, 400 tonnes of maize were purchased by WFP from the Maize Promotion Cooperative Union of Gatsibo (MAPROCUGA). The whole phase will cover the districts of Gatsibo, Bugesera, Kirehe and Nyagatare in the Eastern Province.
Speaking at the occasion, the WFP head thanked the government of Japan for financing the programme and applauded Rwandan rural farmers for putting more efforts in agricultural production.
He said that WFP is working with the government in its efforts to boost agricultural production and to improve farm incomes through market engagement.
Relating the programme to ‘a new born child’, Abdoulaye Balde said that it has a long journey.
“For the World Food Programme and our partners, we are celebrating and naming our new born child. When a child is born, there is always time for naming him, which is why we are gathering here today to celebrate the official launch of our programme.
“We will ensure that farming, specifically in Rwanda and Africa, is more productive, profitable and sustainable,’ he said.
“We are ready to equip local farmers with basic necessities like stitching machines and weighing scales that will enable them produce quality harvests… but there is a saying that when someone helps you to wash your back, you also wash the remaining part. You will also need to put more efforts in produce in abundance,” promised the WFP representative.
Hatanaka said that his government and the Japanese people are committed to help Rwanda improve its agricultural development.
“The government of Japan has been positively and actively working with the government of Rwanda and other African countries to boost agricultural production,” he said.
Gatsibo vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, Nicolas Rwaka, who represented the government, thanked WFP and the Japanese government for promoting local farmers to get markets for their agricultural produce.
On his part, Alexandre Ndererimana, a member of MAPROCUGA, said that the programme is timely and has changed their lives.
‘The programme has increased our income. At first we were selling our maize produce at Rwf100 per kg, but this time they will be buying them at Rwf120 which will increase our incomes,’ he said.