The British Department for International Development (DfID) is set to disburse £23.5 million (about Rwf24 billion) through a new programme, dubbed “Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda” (IMSAR).
IMSAR, which was launched in Kigali, yesterday, will see the money paid out over a period of six years to support agribusiness, help farmers, develop the private sector, create jobs and promote economic growth and exports in a bid to support the commercialisation of agriculture.
DFID director for East and Central Africa Donal Brown said agriculture must be at the centre of economic development because it has real potential, especially in Africa.
“It’s clear that there is need for investment and DfID might be able to help. We are committed because our mission is to eradicate poverty and so many small producers are relying on subsistence agriculture. We see real potential here. We see many of the right ingredients to be successful,” he said.
The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Geraldine Mukeshimana, said there was need to boost all the aspects of agribusiness to realise concrete results.
“I don’t think that smallholder farmers can come out of poverty if they remain producers on that scale. Adding value to what they are doing and enabling them to sell it at a higher price is a way of helping them to get out of poverty. Agriculture in the last six years contributed 45 per cent toward poverty reduction, it’s important to look at it at the policy level, in terms of capacity building and skills development but also into some of the infrastructure that the private sector may want to see already in place,” she said.
The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to Rwanda working closely with the Government through several joint donor-government sector working groups.