On Wednesday, the ministry of agriculture and animal resources conducted a workshop to collect final feedback and inputs on the fourth Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA IV). The plan will serve as the nation’s primary blueprint for guiding public investment in the sector.
The workshop is the second private sector consultation conducted for PSTA IV and was held in partnership with the USAID’s Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth project, the Private Sector Federation/Rwanda Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock (PSF/RCAL) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through the Rwanda Public Private Dialogue (RPPD) mechanism.
In the workshop, representatives of local agri-businesses and farmers from around the country, non-government and civil society organizations, discussed how over 50 recommendations from the previous workshop, held in June, were considered and included in the strategy and discussed the new priority areas emerging for the next seven years.
“The success of this strategy will depend on its inclusiveness,” said Dr. Octave Semwaga, the director general of Strategic Planning and Programs Coordination at Minagri. “We want all the sector's stakeholders to contribute to its elaboration, and be involved in its implementation with full knowledge of all its components."
PSTA IV is designed to focus on attracting and expanding private sector investment in the agriculture sector. It will assign a stronger role to the private sector, including farmers, with government shifting from market actor to enabler. In doing so, the new strategic plan aims to further advance the Government of Rwanda’s goal of achieving an annual growth rate of at least 8.5% in the agricultural sector. Input from domestic producers and businesses is therefore paramount.
Many of the key recommendations made by local producers and agri-businesses in June were incorporated in the test policy document, such as placing more emphasis on research and skills development, addressing the effects of climate change through the use of improved technology like irrigation, and establishing improved communicating channels between the government, producers and businesses.
“I am pleased that I was involved in discussing a draft policy that will guide the development of the sector in which I work,” remarked farmer Donatile Nibagwire. “I am confident that the final policy will reflect the wishes of the actors in the sector, like myself, which will lead to improvement of our businesses and livelihoods.”
”We really appreciated this consultation process to get inputs from farmers, agroprocessors, traders, exporters and investors in agriculture,” said Christine Murebwayire, chairwoman of PSF/RCAL. “It demonstrated the bottom-up approach which increases ownership by the private sector. We are therefore committed to work together with all stakeholders during the implementation and will closely monitor this PSTA IV.”
Information from the workshop will be consolidated with other feedback gathered from other stakeholders to finalise the strategy by December 2017; it will take effect in June 2018.