Creating a pool of experts along the agriculture value chain is essential in Rwanda’s efforts geared at transforming the sector and making the country food secure, Yue Jung Choi, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) deputy director, has said.
Choi added that for developing countries to ensure food safety, players in the agricultural sector should embrace modern farming methods like irrigation, land consolidation, as well as proper post-harvesting handling methods.
These, she added, could help boost crop production and reduce post-harvest losses. Choi was speaking during a one-day training workshop at the University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Musanze on Wednesday.
The students were trained in modern farming methods, especially rice and potatoes production, by KOICA specialists.
They also learnt about the history of agriculture in South Korea, and how the country revamped its agricultural sector to the current level.
She urged the students to focus more on their areas of specialisation and learn new skills that can improve agriculture to support the country’s efforts toward food security.
She added that KOICA focuses on youth, especially agriculture students, to enhance their skills to be able to drive the agricultural sector’s growth.
Farming in Rwanda is largely subsistence in nature, and with the growing population, the pressure on ensuring food safety is a big challenge facing stakeholders.
In addition, despite great achievements in the past decade, operational efficiency and farm productivity continue to be a concern yet to be fully addressed, especially among rural farmers.
However, Fred Agaba from Rwanda Agriculture Board, said Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Agaba said the government and sector players are working together to ensure all Rwandans can have enough food for consumption.
Students speak out
Claudine Uwase, a second year student of soil science at UR’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, said learning from developed economies, like South Korea, could help African countries acquire technologies and expertise required to move the agricultural sector to the next level.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy, so such training and exposure to new skills are crucial for us to be able to transform the country’s agricultural sector,” added Jean Dusabyemungu, a third year student of agriculture engineering.