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EAST: Business to business event for unlocking opportunities among value chain actors

Value chain stakeholders in maize and rice value chain, convened in business to business event organized by ICCO Cooperation-STARS program, that took place in Eastern Province, on 14th November, 2019.  

This event  brought together producers, cooperatives, financial institutions, insurance companies, buyers, processors, inputs dealers, post-harvest equipment suppliers  and manufacturers, soil testing companies, consultants, public institutions and farmer federations, to connect, collaborate and create synergy in business.

Shyaka Francis, the value chain Development advisor ICCO Cooperation-STARS (Strengthening African Rural Smallholders) program said the event aims to connect   different value chain actors make deals among themselves.

He said that one of the main bottleneck in value chain is lack of information among value chain actors and supporters, and the event would improve information sharing, create business opportunities and build business partnership among value chain actors.

“Value chain is built in such way that there is high level of interdependence among different actors.  They need to meet postharvest equipment suppliers so they identify which machines can help to boost the productivity and manage it in the way buyers like it. Financial institutions, traders and framers to need to work together to have a successful business. Input suppliers and insurance companies need to do the same” He highlights.

Shyaka Francis, country value chain advisor within ICCO cooperation

According to Africa Improved foods, farmers still experience low productivity, poor quality of produced maize to the extent that the factory is not getting enough from the country.

“The effort of supporting farmers should look at volume and quality” says Rugambwa Muhozi Elsha, representing African Improved Foods Rwanda, the manufacturer of nutritious complementary Foods.

At least 49 per cent of maize AIF Rwanda needs is imported while only 51 per cent only is locally sourced  in the country. 90% of soya bean is imported, Rugambwa explains, advising farmers to practise mechanized agriculture to increase the productivity and quality.

Twiringiyimana Jean Chrisostome, a representative of maize cooperative union in Nyagatare District, urged buyers to work with farmers from planting to harvesting period, to ensure that farmers understand what buyers need and build good collaboration among the two. 

He said that lack of postharvest equipment such as dryers, slasher machines, sheeting and storage facilities leads to huge post-harvest losses.

Farmers called to adhere to agriculture insurance scheme believed to guarantee banks to offer them credits to invest in their projects and mitigate risks and losses related to unpredictable natural disasters, pests and diseases that affect their crops.

According to MINAGRI, at least 7000 farmers have insured their crops with over 200ha countrywide for one season under government agriculture insurance scheme,  Lambert Niyonshuti  in charge of the scheme within Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) said. The ministry of agriculture collaborate with three insurance companies in the country namely Radiant, Sonarwa and Prime Insurance.

Food production specialist in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Daniel Mirimo, addressing the participants

The Value chain  specialist in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Daniel Mirimo urges farmers to use fertilizers adequately rice and maize  to increase production ,  he said the ministry wants to see farmers taking the advantages of input subsidies  (‘Nkunganire)’ to boost the productivity.

“After the harvest we teach them the best practices to well manage it to avoid the contact of maize and soil which may result in aflatoxin, we think the postharvest loss will gradually reduce.” He said.

The Strengthening African Rural Smallholders (STARS), program is being  implemented in four countries, Rwanda, Senegal, Burkina Faso and , Ethiopia in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. The aim of the program is “food security and better income” for smallholders farmers.

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