Rwanda and the Kingdom of Morocco, yesterday, signed bilateral pacts that could turn around Rwanda’s agriculture sector in terms of productivity and cutting cost of operation.
The agreements were signed in the presence of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and President Paul Kagame at Marriott Hotel, as part of the former’s visit to Rwanda.
Geraldine Mukeshimana, the minister for agriculture and animal resources, and her Moroccan counterpart Aziz Akhannouch signed the agreements setting out a general framework for cooperation between the two countries.
Dr Mukeshimana also signed an agreement with Hicham Belram, the chief executive of Moroccan Agricultural Insurance, for the establishment of multi-peril crop insurance products in Rwanda, which will be implemented in partnership with local insurance companies.
Speaking to The New Times after signing the agreement, Mukeshimana said the partnership with Morocco would greatly benefit smallholder farmers who incur heavy losses in the event of drought.
“We are well aware that this will be a huge relief to our farmers across the country as it will give them confidence to invest in the sector,” she said.
The Minister for Agriculture also signed a pact with Mostafa Terrab, the chief executive of Phosphate Mining Company, for the establishment of a fertiliser blending facility in the country.
The plant will enable the country to produce tailor made fertiliser products for local use with possibilities of export.
Mukeshimana said establishing a fertiliser blending plant in the country will give farmers access to better products that are tailor made for the local market.
She added that the new facility will also make fertilisers affordable to farmers.
“We also hope to become a regional hub for fertiliser production and export it to regional countries, which will also reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit,” she said.
Terrab said they were looking to create an ecosystem that would also involve members of the local private sector.
He said Rwanda has, in previous years, exhibited a lot of potential in developing agriculture sector, which makes the country an ideal destination for them to invest, adding that with Rwanda as a hub, the firm is targeting the regional market, which also holds enormous potential.
Moroccan agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch said the two countries will seek to learn from each other on agriculture sector development.
Akhannouch said Rwanda will learn a lot from Morocco’s model which has played a key role in reducing poverty levels and speeded up the Maghrib nation’s economic development in recent years.
Giving insights into the role of agriculture in Morocco’s economic development, he said, since 2008, they had put agriculture at the centre of their economy, they had seen growth in their gross domestic product as well as other micro and macro-economic impacts.
Going forward, Akhannouch said, the partnership of the two countries to learn from one another could set the tone for the rest of the continent.
Rwanda and the Kingdom of Morocco, on Wednesday, signed 19 pacts to strengthen bilateral ties and create a myriad of opportunities for their citizens.
King Mohammed VI has been in Rwanda since Tuesday for a state visit, part of his tour of the region. Other countries he is expected to visit are Tanzania and Ethiopia.