USAID launches US$14.8m agricultural exports program in Rwanda to boost economic growth

RWANDA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has officially launched a US$14.8 million, 5-year agricultural export program in Rwanda.

The program dubbed Feed the Future Rwanda Kungahara Wagura Amasoko meaning “prosper while expanding markets,” is designed to inclusively and sustainably boost economic growth.

Its goal is to mobilize US$300 million in new investments into Rwanda’s high-value agricultural export sector, which includes coffee, tea, horticulture and spices, and livestock products such as dairy and hides.

In addition, 500 firms will have access to agriculture-related investment as a result of the U.S. government support.

The project also aims to achieve at least 12 percent annual growth in targeted agricultural commodities exported at a national level.

Agriculture being the main economic activity in Rwanda with 70% of the population engaged in the sector, the program seeks to achieve 50% increase in income for at least 127,000 households, including women and youth, through participation in agricultural export value chains and services.

This will be achieved through collaboration between the government, private sector, and civil society, to foster an inclusive and resilient policy and regulatory environment and mobilize public and private investment toward increased high-value agricultural products.

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Through this partnership, there will be analysis of at least 30 new or adapted agricultural enabling environment policies, consulted on, drafted or revised, approved, and implemented with U.S. government assistance.

Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) Dr. Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze said, “Partnerships with the private sector and civil society organizations to reach a huge number of exporters across a number of high-value agricultural products is critical.

“Joining efforts and collaboration within USAID projects, other donors supporting the sector as well as other local stakeholders is encouraged.”

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U.S. Feed the Future Rwanda Kungahara Wagura Amasoko is implemented by a consortium led by RTI International with partners J.E. Austin Associates, Dalberg Advisors, LixCap, and Vanguard Economics.

USAID backs potato project aimed to curb loss caused by late blight disease

As part of the Feed the Future Initiative, USAID recently awarded a five-year US$13 million support, to a collaborative partnership led by Michigan State University (MSU).

Tagged, Global Biotech Potato Partnership, is a collaboration between leading institutions of higher learning, the International Potato Center (CIP), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), and partner country National Agricultural Research Systems, aimed to curb the prevalence of late blight on potato crops in Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Under the project, farmers will be provided with late blight disease resistant (LBR) potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties.

Although these wild species are not suitable for cultivation, researchers have found that when stacking a series of three of these natural resistance genes and inserting them into popular farmer-preferred varieties durable resistance to late blight can be achieved.

The Global Biotechnology Potato Partnership expects to complete required research necessary to receive regulatory approvals for general release and commercialization of the LBR potato in each of the four target countries within the next five years.

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