Rwanda seeks to partner with private investor to build country’s agriculture sector through agribusiness hub

RWANDA – The Government of Rwanda is in search of investors to lease land in the Gabiro agribusiness hub project—located in Nyagatare and Gatsibo district.

The hub was developed to cater for the country’s food security needs, offset the trade balance where imports still outstrip exports.

The project also aims to develop an advanced agricultural eco-system and modern value chain with advanced water infrastructure, innovative irrigation systems, high-value agro-processing operations, and other agrotech activities across the value chain.

According to reports by New Times Rwanda, it was initiated through a partnership between the government and Netafim, an Israel-based firm with focus on irrigation. 

The call for proposals that was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, highlighted that phase one of the project which is already under development at an estimated cost of about US$73.9 million, measures 5,600ha.

According to the plan 4,000ha shall be allocated to commercial farming and will be leased to members of the private sector for a minimum tenure of 49 years (renewable).

The remaining land will be allocated to the community for their own farming activities, and that phase two consisting of about 10,000ha will be developed at a later stage.

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The lease fee is fixed at US$375 (about Rwf3750,000) per hectare every year, with a 2 per cent annual increment from the third year with the water fee fixed at US$19 per cubic metre (m3) used.

Meanwhile, investors have to comply with criteria including showing a company registration certificate issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

They should also indicate the total size of the land applied for, and present their plans for the operation and development of the land for which they have applied.

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Other requirements include experience in the production of similar crop(s) as those they have selected, as well as market arrangements. 

To be sure that the demand for a product exists, applicants are encouraged to present proof of purchase arrangement with any buyer either local or international.

Evidence could include signed agreements, memorandum of understanding, and or correspondences with potential buyers of the proposed crop(s).

They should also be able to contribute to reducing the country’s food imports, and increasing its exports, and show how they will do that.

In 2021, the East Africa nation earned over US$543 million in agricultural export revenues from January to December 2021, against over US$390 million it gained in the same period in 2020, representing an increase of 39 percent.

The country targets to generate US$1 billion in annual agricultural exports by 2024, double the current output by the sector.

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