Does investment in agribusiness help to reach food security in Rwanda?
Agriculture in Rwanda accounts for a third of Rwanda’s GDP; constitutes the main economic activity for the rural households (especially women) and remains their main source of income. Today, the agricultural population is estimated to be a little less than 80% of the total population. The sector meets 90% of the national food needs and generates more than 50% of the country’s export revenues.
In the short and medium term, Rwanda intends to continue focusing its efforts on the traditional cash crops of Tea and Coffee and pyrethrum, as well as on the nascent, non-traditional horticultural crops & plants, including various Fruits & Vegetables; Flowers (mainly fresh roses); Essential Oils (Pyrethrum; Patchouli; etc.), Stevia, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish. Agriculture is supposed to grow from 5.8% to 8.5% p.a by 2018, people living under primarily agriculture sector to reduce from 34% to 25% with focus on agro processing, exports to increase in average from 19.2% to 28% p.a and imports to be maintained at 17% average growth.
Africa Agribusiness academy Rwanda chapter currently active in five BCs with more than 100 entrepreneurs organized a conference with a theme “investing in agribusiness for foods security in Rwanda” to encourage members to invest more in agribusiness activities. The Chairman of the Rwanda Chapter Mr, Jean Claude Ruzibiza officially opened the conference and presented the overview of the Africa Agribusiness Academy where he focused on its mission and its vision. The Chairman told the participants that the main objective of the organization is to stimulate entrepreneurship to increase food security in Africa. He said that the development of small and medium enterprises requires visionary entrepreneurs. And this is the reason why the conference was planned with invited potential partners who can finance member businesses.
Carian Emeka, the Netherlands Embassy representative based in Kigali, who is in charge of agriculture presented on the opportunities of investing in Agribusiness especially in horticulture. She gave an example where Netherland embassy in partnership with Rwanda Best is implementing horticulture projects using a computerized green house as well as a Farmers Training Center. Carian Emeka said that from next year the coordination Embassy will receive proposals which can be financed. She encouraged the AAA members to be among the first winners.
Mrs Nirere Sylvie from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry who is a specialist in charge of investment presented an overview of investment opportunities in Agribusiness available from the Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda. She shared on the facilities offered to entrepreneurs who want to bring innovations in Agribusiness. The government is doing well to facilitate entrepreneurs who want to invest in agribusiness projects.
Mr. Ben Rutten was representing PUM (Netherlands Senior Experts) a non-profit organization promoting entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging markets.
In this conference five AAA members (MEGAVET EAST AFRICA Ltd ,HAJI ENTERPRISE Ltd , Zirakamwa meza Nyanza Diary Ltd , Hydroponic system Ltd , High performance Business and Services ) one by one pitched their business proposals to show potential funders the image of their business and their future plans.
One of the purposes of this conference was the recruitment of new members where potential new members were invited to attend the conference. 30 new members from five business clubs attended the conference. The AAA Rwanda Board explained to new members the requirements and benefits to becoming a member of AAA. Potential members asked questions to understand more about AAA. They hence decided to join AAA.
The conference helped the academy to identify the partners that can finance the AAA members. Namely they are; Gain, PSDAG , AGRITERRA, AGRA , Global communities ,ICCO, AGROFIN, BPN , Ministry of Agriculture (Minagri ), Embassies (Belgium, Netherlands, Embassy of Swiss …).