[EDITORIAL] Implement strategies to stave off food shortages

As Rwanda marked the World Food Day on Thursday last week, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, told The New Times that the government had undertaken a major effort to actively promote programmes that would ultimately ensure sustainable food security in the country.

As Rwanda marked the World Food Day on Thursday last week, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, told The New Times that the government had undertaken a major effort to actively promote programmes that would ultimately ensure sustainable food security in the country.

He particularly cited ongoing interventions in Eastern Province that are designed to wade off food shortages in the area in the future – a challenge that has reared its ugly head in recent days.

 

The government, he said, was actively promoting irrigation schemes across the province and elsewhere in the country, facilitating farmers to acquire irrigation equipment, stepping up terracing practices, helping farmers to harvest and store rainwater to use during droughts, setting up valley dams, among others.

 

Also, the government continues to extend agricultural extension and advisory services to farmers, and to improve the quality of seed varieties of different crops and availing them to farmers.

 

All these efforts, among others, are designed to ensure increased productivity and to make the country food secure on a sustainable basis.

Now these are not new strategies. We have heard this before. Yet we continue to see food shortages in different parts of the country now and then.

With more than 70 per cent of Rwandans believed to be making a living through the agriculture sector, it’s obvious that the government would continue to improve investments in the sector, while at the same time growing other sectors that have the potential to employ and transform the lives of more Rwandans.

Importantly, there is need to improve coordination among all the agriculture players – both public and private actors – to ensure their interventions complement each other’s in a way that ensures maximum impact.

The sector leaders need to ensure that all the various players work towards a clear target, each area and actor with specific targets – with an unambiguous implementation roadmap.

A stakeholders’ evaluation process should also be inclusive and informed by the realities on the ground to allow for timely intervention and adjustments.

Now is the time to implement every detail of the existing strategies and to truly transform this critical sector.

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