Gov’t to construct 450 pyrethrum drier
Government is set to construct 450 new driers to be shared by different pyrethrum cooperatives. Drying is one of the major constraints faced by pyrethrum farmers in the country and it has contributed to post harvest losses.
According to Dr.Ndambe Nzaramba, Director General of Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA), “It is always risky and inappropriate especially during rainy seasons to depend on short sunshine interludes using some material or on bare ground outside.”
He said that the inefficient drying leads to reduced production, and hence low income to the farmers. The construction of the driers is set between June and July this year, and they will be distributed to 24 pyrethrum cooperatives across the country. The cooperatives supply their produce to SOPYRWA Rwanda’s sole pyrethrum factory.
The total land available for pyrethrum plantation is 5,600 hectares and has the capacity to produce 4,500 metric tonnes of dry flowers per annum if properly harnessed.
According to the recently presented Monetary Policy Statement, pyrethrum was exceptional to other commodities that registered a decline in exports whereby export value increased by 68.08 percent.
E agriculture to improve farmer’s livelihoods
Rwanda has stepped up its efforts to use technology as a tool to improve farmer livelihoods, production and marketing, an official said.
The development comes after the Rwanda Development Board technology department, deployed nationally a web-based, crop price tracker and other tools like mobile phones under the e-soko project.
Wilson Muyenzi the coordinator of e-Rwanda said this week that the project aims to take the benefits of ICT to all sections of society.
An on-line price tracker will provide farmers with knowledge of the market prices and stay informed about market prices and where to sell their produce
Muyenzi, said that the on-line facility, will ultimately create a bargaining power for their produce and, therefore, higher incomes instead of relying on middlemen who cheat the farmers by buying produce at low prices and selling at much higher prices.
Currently, farmers have been accessing market prices, only through SMS (text messages) where farmers would request for prices from a particular market and for a specific commodity.
The project’s web based-crop price tracker and mobile phones are being run in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and telecom operators.
Currently, the system only runs on the MTN network and is yet to be available on the other networks.
IFC provides on-line training for Rwandan entrepreneurs
Fifteen Rwandan businesses in the sectors of energy, tourism and hospitality, successfully completed training this week using a free online learning program called SME toolkit.
The training program, that was facilitated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), on Wednesday, aimed at strengthening Small and Medium Enterprises. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
The SME toolkit was launched in Rwanda in July 2009 by the Rwanda Entrepreneurship Development Program (REDP) to assist business owners and managers acquire skills that will enable them prepare trusted business plans.
It would also prepare them run more efficient businesses and also improve their chances of accessing finance and capital from local banks.
Ignace Rusenga the Program Manager for IFC’s REDP said that IFC’s goal is to create opportunities for Rwandans, to escape poverty and improve their lives through increasing support to local SMEs.
“Currently we are committed to supporting emerging businesses in the energy, tourism and hospitality sectors. We hope to see more SMEs involved in different areas such as renewable energy including biogas, solar energy, micro-hydro and biomass,” Rusenga said.
Rusenga added that IFC can help SMEs access an estimated $62 million of funding from development partners to finance different renewable energy projects.
Unions push for minimum wage increment
SENJOUSMEL, a trade union for workers in the private sector, is demanding that the daily average minimum wage be raised by Rwf100 from Rwf2900 to Rwf3000, citing the high cost of living.
The current average minimum wage is contained in Article 76 of the new Labour Code ‘determining the minimum guaranteed inter-professional wage’ that was gazetted last year.
The union, which seeks to protect and advance working conditions for its members, said ahead of May 1, which is the Labour Day, that government and other employers in the country should consider increasing pay cheques, calling for a pay rise to between Rwf3000 and Rwf5000 for workers in Kigali.
“Government through the trade union umbrella (Trade Union Centre of Workers of Rwanda (CESTRAR)) should consider discussing with employers how to increase the minimum wage,” Abdon Nkotanyi, the Secretary General of Senjourmel said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
CESTRAR is the national trade union centre.
Eng. Andre Mutsindashyaka, the Deputy Secretary General ......urged employees to be confident and observant when negotiating for a job contract.
“People should not feel like being given a job is a favour because they are selling their services, so it should be a win-win deal,” he emphasised.
Senjourmel trade union has 7000 members with 5700 active members targeting 15,000 potential members.
AFDB capital resources to increase by 200 percent
The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) shareholders have endorsed the request to tripling its (Bank’s) capital resources to nearly US$100 billion to allow the bank to sustain a higher level of lending in response to overwhelming demand in all countries.
The decision was made in Washington last week during the meeting by the Committee of Governors that represents the Bank’s shareholders.
According to a press release from AfDB, in response to the financial crisis, the Bank front loaded its commitments, put in place new instruments to facilitate trade, and restructured its portfolio.
“As a result the Bank had used its available resources more quickly than previously expected,” a press release reads in part.
Governors said that the conclusions represented a vote of confidence in the Bank, and recognition of the exceptional efforts undertaken in response to the financial and economic crisis, the release added.
Donald Kaberuka, president of the AfDB noted that the decision signaled shareholders’ strong confidence in the Bank.
“Our response significantly helped Africa weather the storm of the crisis. But the massive increase in demand for financing has brought us close to our lending limits,” Kaberuka said in the release.