KIGALI - The government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), yesterday, signed an agreement worth US$39.8 million (approx Rwf23.5bn) to support various agricultural projects in the country.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, said that half the funds will be a concessional loan while the other half is a grant.
“IFAD is a key partner in the development of agriculture in Rwanda. The agreement signed today is in support to achieve our vision 2020,” said Rwangombwa.
He added that the biggest chunk of the funds (US$37.3m) will be spent on supporting a new Project for Rural Income through Export (PRICE) while US$ 2.5 million will be allocated to Project for Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PESTA).
PRICE aims to raise the income of smallholder farmers, especially women-headed households, by increasing their returns from key export-driven agricultural value chains, through increased volumes and quality of production, improved marketing and effective farmer organisations.
The targeted value-chains are coffee, tea, sericulture and horticulture.
“This financing aims at supporting Rwanda’s goal of transforming the agricultural sector and achievement of our long-term development objectives. It is within this framework that our cooperation with IFAD is crucial for development,” said the minister.
The vice president of IFAD, Yukiko Omura, said that government and the international body will work with the project beneficiaries and the private sector to boost the potential of the agricultural sector to move from substantial agriculture to market-based farming.
“With its focus on enabling smallholder farmers and vulnerable groups to participate in export value chains for coffee, tea, silk and horticulture, PRICE is a flagship project in terms of public-private partnerships,” Omura said.
She added that the project will support farmers’ cooperatives and push for a higher share of the export price to reach the smallholder producers.
The IFAD vice president noted that more than 125,000 vulnerable households, particularly those headed by women and young people, will be the primary beneficiaries of PRICE.
Currently, IFAD funds 14 agricultural programs in Rwanda for a total investment of US$ 189.8 million that benefits about 500,000 households.