Agriculture development bank in the pipeline – PM

The government has ambitious plans that will see the agricultural sector transformed in the next six years, with an agricultural development bank set up to streamline the sector’s credit processes.  It wants to see the level of access to agricultural credit increased from four to 18 percent. Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi made the announcement as he presented the government’s 2011-2017 agenda in his maiden appearance before the House, yesterday.
Habumurenyi (L) swith senate president Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo before the former's presentation in parliament yesterday.  The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
Habumurenyi (L) swith senate president Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo before the former's presentation in parliament yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

The government has ambitious plans that will see the agricultural sector transformed in the next six years, with an agricultural development bank set up to streamline the sector’s credit processes.

It wants to see the level of access to agricultural credit increased from four to 18 percent.

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi made the announcement as he presented the government’s 2011-2017 agenda in his maiden appearance before the House, yesterday.

He highlighted achievements in the past year and outlined ambitious targets for the remaining six years of the current government’s mandate, which is hinged on President Paul Kagame’s term in office.

Targets are set in enhancing good governance, justice, economic development and social welfare.

In agriculture, government intends to consolidate the gains made in the sector and sustain its growth.

According to the head of government, more research, land consolidation, soil conservation, planting improved seed varieties, and irrigation are also in focus.

“Irrigating crops in marshlands and uplands will move from 13,000 hectares to at least 100, 000 hectares,” the Premier said.

“Use of inorganic fertilisers will increase from 14 kilos per hectare to at least 45 kilogrammes per hectare”.

The government targets an annual 10 percent increment in quantity and quality production of export crops like coffee, tea and pyrethrum.

Apart from augmenting the existing agricultural extension services, government also plans to improve on a post-harvest action plan to streamline food distribution within the country, and outside.

More poor Rwandans will also benefit from the Girinka project.

“The cows given to poor Rwandans will increase from 114,735 to 350,000.”

Storage facility capacity for agricultural produce will increase from 42,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes.

Another target is more value addition for agricultural produce and creation of additional off-farm jobs. They will also target at least 70 percent farmers to join cooperatives.

According to Habumuremyi, the good governance pillar underscores aspects like further enhancement of foreign relations, security and national sovereignty, youth development, gender, and laws that enhance development.

The premier disclosed that government plans to support civil society groups that, in turn, would help contribute to national development, as well as build a professional media.

Habumuremyi added that government will improve the level of citizens’ service satisfaction to at least 80 percent.

He said government will continue to play a role in international organisations with the aim of safeguarding national interests.

On the country’s youth, efforts will be put in increasing the number of youth-centred cooperatives, with at least 350 new ones set to be established.

They will also focus on education and training, especially vocational and technical skills, so as to curb unemployment levels – down to below five percent and 200,000 new jobs will be created each year.

The government will continue working hard to build a country governed by the rule of law as well as an efficient justice sector that spurs development; fight against Genocide; injustice and corruption; and respect for human rights.

On the third pillar – economic development – the prime minister emphasised the government’s goal to fast track sustainable economic development. The goal also aims at improved productivity, which will be achieved through programmes like improvement in agriculture; trade, industry and tourism; infrastructure; organised settlement; private sector development; forests, environment and natural resources; and advancement in media technology.

On energy and infrastructure, Habumuremyi reiterated the government’s ambition to extend the country’s road network as well as increase power production from the current 85 MW to 1,000MW.

Good housing, too, is part of the scheme of things as government wants to see Imidugudu settlements increase from the current 51.6 percent to at least 70 percent by 2017.

The country’s environment will also be protected and natural resources better exploited. Health insurance will be streamlined so that at least not less than 95 percent Rwandans are covered.

More hospitals and other health facilities will be built. The government also targets a patient to doctor ratio of 1:10,000, up from 1:18,000, among others.

Achievements

The premier listed achievements in the first year of the President’s second term in the areas of good governance, justice, economic development, and the population’s social welfare.

In good governance, the PM observed that: the third phase of decentralisation started; foreign relations were enhanced; the country is opening more foreign missions; in terms of gender equality, gender responsive budgeting and gender mainstreaming programmes are in place.

On the economy, he said the role of tax revenue in the government budget is enhanced, which now stands at 51 percent of the national budget (2011-2012), up from 49 percent in the previous period.

Ends

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