Trade minister appears before Parliament today

Farmers during a study tour on how to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, will today appear in the Chamber of Deputies to respond to 23 questions raised in February by the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment.

The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gérardine Mukeshimana, is also expected to appear before the Lower House at a later date.

The summons follow MPs’ dissatisfaction with explanations given by Hakuziyaremye when she appeared before the House to explain reasons behind poor post-harvest handling of agricultural produce, its marketing, and value addition.

The MPs are also pushing the ministers to give a timeline and roadmap on addressing concerns in the agriculture and livestock sector value chains and be held accountable in the future if deadlines are not met.

MP Théogène Munyangeyo suggested that serious investments be injected into ensuring support for research and provision of proper guidance to farmers.

“Over 65 per cent of Rwandans are in the agriculture sector. There are a lot of things we need to get right. There is need for research to identify produce that is needed by the market and provide guidance on how to produce it,” he said.

Other issues

Among the issues that Hakuziyaremye is expected to address is the reason why several industries that were specifically constructed for agro-processing remain dysfunctional while productivity of others is lower than expected.

She will also explain reasons why there is harvest that is still in factory and cooperative storage facilities causing losses to farmers and will directly affect the harvest of season 2019A to a point where farmers will fail to store their harvest.

Lack of a proper policy regarding marketing agricultural produce locally, regionally and internationally, lack of agreements between farmers and industries that purchase agricultural produce and the failure to honour those that exist will also be on the agenda.