The Government is committed to transform the co-operative sector across the country to achieve sustainable development, officials have said.
While addressing residents of Ngoma District at the closure of a seven-day trade show in the area, on Monday, government officials highlighted the importance of co-operatives to achieving the country’s vision for 2020.
The annual trade fair attracted farmers and business persons from all districts of Eastern Province, the East African Community countries and India.
The event was presided over by the Minister of Trade and Industry, François Kanimba, who commended the farmers’ high level of organisation.
The minister encouraged farmers and other stakeholders in the sector to always participate in exhibitions and share experiences to optimise the opportunities it (exhibition) provides.
“I thank all of you for having attended this trade show…it shows your love for agro-business.
Strong farmer cooperatives will increase productivity, particularly in rural areas. This is one way to eradicate poverty,” he said.
The exhibition focused mainly on innovations, transformation of the agricultural sector, food security and involvement of the private sector to increase production and value addition.
The Governor of Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, reiterated the need to strengthen the capacity of cooperatives, saying a number of them were very productive.
“Co-operatives are contributing to the wellbeing of millions of people in Rwanda, not only in agriculture, but also in other sectors such as transport with farmers buying trucks and milling machines,” she said.
“The annual exhibition acts as an important window for displaying agricultural technology and innovations. The Province’s economic potential, especially, in the area of farming cannot be overemphasised…which is why such trade shows are a good trend towards achieving the country’s vision 2020,” Uwamariya added.
Farmers and traders who attended the trade show, however, criticised the manner in which it was organised.
“We took the opportunity to exchange ideas, and re-think our farming methods. We shall continue to attend such trade shows in different districts. The organisers should, however, be better organised to allow more people to attend…we are given a short notice of the venue and charged highly to put up stalls. This is not correct,” a farmer who preferred anonymity said.
Vision 2020 is a development programme designed to help the country achieve middle-income status by 2020 and to accelerate annual GDP growth to 10% between 2013 and 2018.