EDITORIAL: We can do more to double revenue from agric exports

The country’s agricultural exports fetched over $304.6 million (about Rwf255 billion) from January to September 2017. This was more compared to $232.65 million earned in the same period in 2016.

Statistics from the National Agriculture Exports Board (NAEB) indicate that the current trend is an indicator that the sector is set to bring in more export revenues, this year.

Although traditional exports like coffee, tea and pyrethrum contributed a lot, revenues from non- traditional exports are increasing every year. The growth in export earnings is good news as the country intensifies efforts to modernize the agriculture sector.

The sector employs more than 70 per cent of the population; therefore more export revenues in the sector means that more people will be able to improve their standards of living and subsequently lead to national development.

However, despite this increase, the potential of the agricultural sector is yet to be fully harnessed.

More needs to be done in terms of transforming agriculture and value addition to increase the volume of exports.

The growth in export earnings has been a result of trading not only in coffee and tea, but also other nontraditional agricultural commodities that were previously produced only for domestic consumption. Commercial farmers should move away from traditional export crops and venture into non-traditional crops like horticulture products.

This calls for more capacity building among farmers in the horticulture and floriculture subsectors so that they can apply good farming methods, which can enable them, get higher and competitive yields on the international market.

Government has invested a lot in enhancing agricultural productivity through addressing challenges including insufficient financing facing the sector, among others.

However, despite the current strides more needs to be done because the country has potential to double export revenues in the agriculture sector. Also, government should continue facilitating exporters in terms of accessing international markets.