The Agri-ProFocus Agri-Hub in Rwanda aims to enhance coherent and demand-driven support to producer organisations and their business partners. The network has been built around the IPER programme, which has 23 agri-business clusters. Together, these clusters involve more than 200 cooperatives and as many as 30,000 farmers. Participants from the clusters are producer organisations, millers, input suppliers, finance institutions and business development service providers. The thematic focus of the network is on inputs, rural finance, producer organisation capacity development, gender and social inclusion.
The Rwanda Agri-Hub managed to increase market access for farmers and improve the quality of different agricultural products. Companies in the rice chain worked together to introduce new rice varieties. They also started a warehouse receipt system, which enables farmers to buy seeds and fertilizer using their expected harvest as credit. In the potato and cassava food chains, companies conducted innovative research to improve their market position.
The network has booked encouraging results in terms of increased market access, productivity and interaction between actor groups. This helps to create opportunities for upscaling the approach to a larger number of clusters and commodities.
- In the rice chain: clusters working together have increased yields and improved the quality of their produce by introducing new varieties. The network is exploring the opportunities for value addition at local level and improved regional competitiveness.
- In the potato chain: the clusters have analysed the price fluctuations and saturation moments in the market to adjust their crop rotations accordingly.
- The local processing company SoSoMa together with seven cooperatives involving over 2000 farmers from Western Rwanda, formed an agri-business cluster within the network. The company adds value to the farmers’ produce by processing it into maize, sorghum and soya flour.
- In the cassava chain: the clusters initiated a major action research programme that will lead to concrete proposals for investment in local processing companies.
- IFDC has trained 13 agribusiness coaches who can be hired by the agribusiness clusters for support with business plan development.
Agriculture is the cornerstone of Rwanda’s economic transformation, employing 80 percent of the country’s population. The government has strongly promoted the sector’s productivity by means of land consolidation policies and prioritizing certain high potential crops. Challenges are still plenty for this country, but nevertheless Rwanda is quickly reforming its economy and business regulations. These reforms have earned the country a high ranking on the World Bank Doing Business chart.