Flexible policies are expected to boost agro-processing sector in Rwanda, thanks to the project of Promoting Agriculture, Climate and Trade linkages in the East Africa Community, phase two, (PACT EAC2), which has been a channel to express Agro-processor’s views for policies improvement, including regional Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) in process of revision.
At the final meeting of project held by the National Reference Group (NRG) in Kigali, Thursday, August 8, participants discussed on achievements registered over the past four years of the project’s phase two and deliberated on how they can build on these to continue promoting sustainable agro-processing in the future while taking into account its links with trade and climate change.
Fabien Ngoga, one of NRG members, said the project has been very important. “We have accessed challenges for agro-processors and possible solutions through flexible policies, especially PSDS in this phase, all concerned ministries and institutions have been represented in all sessions of the project and took into consideration our views. So, the project has been playing a crucial role in building Public-Private Partnership in agro-processing and climate-sensitive farming,” he said.
Munyentwari Francois, the Country Director of ACORD Rwanda, said the project has registered tremendous success.
“Most of the project’s proejections have been achieved. We needed to bring together different players in agro-processing sector to contribute in drafting policies governing different sectors such as trade, climate change and food security in Rwanda and EAC,” he said.
“We conducted a research on what can be done to boost agro-processing sector, and presented the findings to competent institutions for their action and some of our recommendations are being implemented.”
Munyentwari said they encountered some challenges including financial constraints but they successfully ran the project by using the resources they had at their disposal.
As the project closes, Rashid S. Kaukab, the Executive Director of CUTS International, said he is proud of the achievements.
“We are very happy, proud and humbled by the results. Our objective was to assist people from Rwanda trading in EAC to know better the relationship between climate change, trade, agriculture and agro-processing in a bid to improve their policies and collaborate with one another. In all these areas, the project has achieved all its objectives and that makes us very proud,” he said.
Mr. Kaukab added the project has focused on policies, but implementation of policies is even key yet financing and technologies still remain a challenge which the government of Rwanda and partners should address.
As the way forward after PACT EAC2 project, Mr. Munyentwari said they are going to discuss with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment to establish a dynamic platform for agro-processors in the country for sustaining the project’s achievements.
The project has been fully financed by CUTS International and implemented by ACORD Rwanda through eight NRG meetings in four years, with funding of 12,000 Euros. In meetings, apart from NRG regular members, organizers has been inviting the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rema and Rwandans involved in international negotiations especially regarding climate and environment conservation.