The government of Rwanda plans to increase spending on agriculture to 10 percent of the national budget in order to boost the sector’s productivity, a top official said Monday.
The move, which will be implemented during the budget review that is due to take place next month, will position Rwanda among the few African countries committed to meet the Maputo Declaration that requires African governments to allocate at least 10 percent of their national annual budget to the agricultural sector to enhance its growth and development. The Maputo Declaration was signed by African leaders in 2003 and since then less than 20 countries have showed commitment to it.
The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata told Business Times in an interview that public expenditure to the agricultural sector currently stands at Rwf94 billion or 9.6 percent of the total national budget, which is Rwf984 billion.
“The current budget review exercise will see budget in agriculture sector actually hit 10 percent as opposed to 6.8 percent allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources,” Kalibata said.
She added that based on strong plans for the sector, which employs majority of the country’s workforce, government spending on agriculture is expected to even grow higher than 10 percent in the following years.
Gov’t plans to increase irrigation, crop intensification programme, terracing, post harvest storage and market strengthening.
Part of the agriculture budget, which is equivalent to Rwf760 million, is allocated to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to strengthen the quality and quantity of commercial agriculture, increase diversification of new agricultural products and developing markets for the produce.
Part of the allocation also goes to Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) for export promotion fund, Vision 2020 Umurenge Program to construct markets and warehouses.
Other Beneficiaries include the Ministry of Commerce and industry to provide technical assistance to processors in targeted sectors, Central Bank for agricultural guarantee facility and rural investment facility II.
“This is impressive and shows government commitment towards poverty eradication and if replicated by (the) donor community, it’s likely to see Rwanda achieving MDG one,” she added.