Cooperation between Rwanda and Chinese agricultural experts will enable technology transfer so as to reduce post-harvest losses to less than 5 per cent by 2024, according to the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
Speaking during the closing of intensive training cultivation and processing of tropical food crops in Rwanda, Patrick Karangwa, the Director General of RAB said they recently signed a memorandum of understanding with China for sharing experiences, knowledge and technologies so as to improve agricultural yields, enhancing value addition and other technologies needed in handling post-harvest losses.
“We need to reduce post-harvest losses from 16 per cent, as statistics showed last year, to less than 5 per cent by 2024,” he said.
The Chinese experts this week trained Rwandans on cassava cultivation and processing, bananas, mushrooms, maize, rice and related processing technologies
A study carried out by RAB in conjunction with University of Rwanda, indicated there is 100 per cent damage in bananas from farm to market and annual economic loss of $35 million to $47 million in Rwanda due to poor postharvest handling practices, damage during transportation, disease and insect damage during production, lack of containers as well as lack of processing options.
“China has good technology and we have signed an agreement for technology transfer. They have new varieties of crops and processing technologies that can be adapted in Rwanda. They are also highly developed in irrigation technologies and for Rwanda to move to 100,000 irrigated hectares from 52,000 hectares currently we need such cooperation,” he said.
He added that the cooperation was timely since China is the world’s sixth biggest grain plant resources, King of Starch and underground food storehouse, basic food resources for 0.6 billion people in tropical areas, major cash crops for under developed countries and areas and plant for biological energy reserves.
“Their experts continue to come in Rwanda and we carry out research together to find solutions in agricultural sector namely post-harvest losses issue, pesticides and fertilizers, crop varieties, mechanization and others,” he said.
Dr Liu Guodao said that that the training is part of driving scientific and technological cooperation, joint strategic research on ecosystem management, climate change between Hainan province-China and Rwanda.
Alphonse Munyaneza, a farmer from Ngorero District, said he gained more skills besides growing bananas.
“We have learnt how to process cassava into other products, I also gained more insight in banana cultivation and others,” he said.