The European Union has announced a call for proposals for projects that aim at unlocking Rwanda’s potential in horticulture and coffee value chains.
The €7.68 million (approximately Rwf7.7bn) programme is the latest in a series of financial support from the EU to the country’s agriculture sector under the €204 million agreement with Rwanda.
It aims to ensure supply of safe products to local, regional and international markets.
Divided into two lots, the first lot has €4.68 million earmarked as support to horticultural high-value chains, SME- and agribusiness development. The second lot has €3 million to enhance coffee value chain.
The applications are open from December 16, 2018 to March 27, 2019 with EU officials saying that potential beneficiaries have enough time to articulate how they seek to transform the horticulture and coffee farming businesses.
“But we sincerely hope that whoever will be given this grant will really want to benefit the people and the communities,” said Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda.
The Director General of the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), Ambassador Bill Kayonga, said they recognise coffee farmers’ efforts to improve the crop farming.
He added that the government has always supported coffee farmers with various incentives such as fertilisers and other farm inputs.
“Last season they had a challenge like coffee dieback disease on the field, this reduced their yield, but with intervention with high application of fertilizers and proper IPM (Integrated Pest Management) we think that they will not face the same problem in future,” he stated.
Upbeat, coffee farmers in Karenge Sector, Rwamagana, appreciated how public institutions give attention to their agriculture.
“This year, we received the fertilisers on time,” said Stratton Ntawumenyumunsi.
The farmer said that coffee has proven to be lucrative crop since its introduction in Rwanda, adding that the Karenge farmers’ lives have since improved.
Karenge is one of 14 sectors of Rwamagana district and a renowned coffee producing area. Recent figures show that it has 1,574,829 coffee trees.
Mayor Radjab Mbonyumuvunyi said the pursuit of farmers’ progress demonstrates the good relations between Rwanda and European countries.