Members of farmers’ cooperatives across the country have called upon the Ministry of Agriculture to intensify training programmes among farmers to enhance professionalism in the sector.
The farmers made the call yesterday at the opening of a three-day training workshop that brought together various non-state actors with an aim of supporting the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The participants were drawn from Local and International NGOs, members of farmer’s cooperatives, media houses and private investors.
“The majority of Rwandans in the agricultural sector still lack techniques on how best they can improve their farming activities,” the vice president of Rwanda Federation of Bee Keepers, Theobald Ndagijimana, observed.
He challenged the government to intensify plans to ensure that the capacity of farmers is collectively improved.
Ndagijimana added that farmers are faced with financial constraints, calling for more strategies to facilitate them to easily access loans from banks and other financial institutions.
“In Rwanda, the business of beekeeping had been neglected in the past, but now there is full political will and support from the central government, which beckons a brighter future,” he said.
Bernard Ndahayo from Rwanda Tea Cooperatives, said that one of the major challenges they face include low prices of tea, saying a kilogram of local tea sells at Rwf 100. They appealed for the government’s support to regulate the prices to ensure that farmers gain more from their yield.
Innocent Mutabaruka, the head of programmes at ActionAid-Rwanda said the objective of the training workshop was to empower non-state actors and the civil society to scale up the CAADP process that Rwanda is a signatory to.
CAADP aims at tackling food insecurity and how more funds can be directed into the agricultural sector from central government budgets, as a way of increasing income for smallholder farmers.
He said that meeting will enable participants to come up with a body to support the government in delivering on its promises in improving food security and the welfare of farmers in the country.