Clinton Foundation scales up support to smallholder farmers

The Clinton Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources have signed an agreement that could soon see farmers adopt to practices that will increase their yield.
Farmers in Ruryaraya in Rwamagana District till their  land. (Timothy Kisambira)
Farmers in Ruryaraya in Rwamagana District till their land. (Timothy Kisambira)

The Clinton Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources have signed an agreement that could soon see farmers adopt to practices that will increase their yield.

Under the deal, signed Tuesday, the Foundation will help farmers adopt and implement agricultural programmes that have been used and proven in parts of Africa such as Malawi and Tanzania with the aim of increasing yields and improving their access to markets.

In a statement, Agriculture minister Geraldine Mukeshimana is quoted as saying that the support will go to crop value chain and ensuring that farmers have quality production inputs for modern practices.

“This work will support other ongoing partnerships in the crop value chains. It will support farmers’ access to production inputs as well as serve as a nucleus to modern agriculture in important commodities such as potatoes, maize, soybean, and vegetables,” the minister said.

Among the areas highlighted in the agreement include increasing the domestic production of soya by smallholder farmers to meet demand from large scale buyers of the oil seeds in the country.

The efforts further aim at increasing domestic production of hybrid maize seed in partnership with private sector seed companies while simultaneously scaling up production of certified soya, legume, potato, and vegetable seeds.

The Foundation’s move was informed by the realisation that smallholder farmers use poor production practices and have limited access to markets.

Walker Morris, the chief executive of the Clinton Development Initiative, said their work aims at boosting economic growth and helping famers support their families and communities.

“Smallholder farmers in Rwanda face many challenges, from a lack of access to markets and production equipment, to a changing climate that is disrupting crop yields,” Morris is quoted in the statement as saying.

“Clinton Development Initiative’s work encourages economic growth by helping farmers gain access to loans, agricultural inputs, and high quality seeds. The expansion of our work in Rwanda will scale up these proven solutions that have already empowered farmers to support their families and uplift their communities.”

The Foundation has previously worked at establishing the agro-business sector to foster economic development and empower smallholder farmers, connect them to markets that add value to their agricultural products, create jobs, and expand export opportunities.

Soyco Limited, an edible oil and animal feed producer, and Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company, are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Foundation’s initiatives.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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