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Rwanda smallholder framers to benefit from Africa’s biggest agriculture forum

African Green Revolution Forum AGRF

L-R: Strive Masiyiwa of Econet, Rwanda’s minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gérardine Mukeshimana, and Agnes Kalibata address the media on the sidelines of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit in Kigali yesterday. Photo courtesy.

For the first time Rwanda has been selected to host 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) which will run under the theme “Lead, Measure, Grow” enabling new pathways to turn smallholders into sustainable agribusinesses.

The annual agricultural forum which is organised by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and is slated for September 3-7 was last year held in Côte d’Ivoire and saw close to US$6.5 billion worth of business deals clinched in palm oil, pulses, potato, and rice subsectors.

Agnes Kalibata, AGRA’s president and Rwanda’s former agriculture minister said that the country was selected to host the forum due, in large part, to its leadership role in efforts to transform agriculture both at home and across the continent.

In January 2018, at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Rwanda was recognised by the African Union Commission as the top performing nation on the continent in the pursuit of agricultural goals and targets, scoring 6.1 out of a possible 10.

“We are excited to be building on Rwanda’s reputation as the country that has been able to demonstrate how Africa can build an agriculture system that is functional,” Kalibata said, adding that the country’s performance in CAADP is something that they would like to share with other countries.

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The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

Previous editions of the forum have seen major continental commitments on agriculture.

The 2016 edition, hosted by Kenya, for example, resulted in commitments of more than US$30 billion to support the continent with investments to increase production, income, and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years.

Rwanda’s Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gérardine Mukeshimana, said the country is looking forward to sharing its experience with the rest of the continent.

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“Rwanda is also keen on gaining insights from our peers. We must continue to improve at understanding new advances and deploying new solutions that will enable us all to tap into the full potential of our continent,” she noted.

Currently, agriculture is the economic mainstay of the majority of households in Rwanda and makes a significant contribution to the economy. The sector accounts for about 30 per cent of the GDP and employs about 69 per cent of the labour force.

The upcoming agriculture forum is expected to draw more than 1,500 delegates.

The 7th edition of the forum will seek to further the advancement of inclusive agricultural transformation at the heart of the continent’s broader economic transformation agenda and Agenda 2063, organisers said.

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