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Buffett-Backed Agricultural University Breaks Ground, Set to Boost the Sector

On Thursday, 2nd August 2018,  the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the former Karama Research Station, Bugesera District, Gashora Sector, Mwendo Village.

With USD$87,6 million in funding support from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF) to cover construction and the first five years of operation, and a further commitment by HGBF of USD$40 million for additional operational support, today’s ceremony formalizes the ongoing construction of the Rwanda Institute for Conservative Agriculture (RICA).

RICA is a tertiary institution that will combine research, education and extension services and graduate 84 students a year who will earn a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Agriculture over a 3-year continuous academic term.

Emphasizing practical and experiential learning, RICA is a unique and innovative English
language institution dedicated to preparing the next generation of agricultural leaders of Rwanda and East Africa.

RICA students will learn the principles of Conservation Agriculture and One Health while emphasizing written communication, leadership and entrepreneurship. Students will engage closely with communities near RICA to ensure research insights are informed by local needs and RICA’s innovations benefit local communities.

Students at RICA will be exposed to six different enterprises including Beef Cattle and Small
Ruminants, Dairy, Poultry and Swine, Row and Forage Crops, Vegetable and Tree Crops,
Irrigation and Mechanization.

It is expected that all RICA graduates will be innovative problem solvers able to operate farms and ranches, start agribusinesses, assume management roles in cooperatives and other agricultural enterprises, serve their communities as extension agents and technical and policy experts, or assume positions of agricultural leadership in Rwanda.

“Rwanda is the only country in Africa where we would have made this kind of investment,
thanks to the extraordinary leadership by the government, the partnership with MINAGRI and
MINEDUC, and the incredible commitment by this country to transform agriculture in a way
that benefits all Rwandans,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G.
Buffett Foundation.


The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Hon. Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana, hailed
the various stakeholders for their commitment to support Rwanda’s agriculture sector.

“It’s a great journey and an essential part of Rwanda’s Vision 2020, that together we are building an institution of higher learning, that will produce highly qualified professionals who will contribute immensely with respect to the vision and goals of our country with a specific emphasis on food security for our people,” pointed out Minister Mukeshimana.

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is serving as a critical academic partner, helping to design and implement the curriculum and campus operations, especially during RICA’s critical start-up phase.

MASS Design Group is the project architect and local firm Remote Group is leading up
construction.

The first phase of campus construction will be completed in July 2019 in time to welcome the
first class of students. A second phase of campus construction will be completed in July 2020.

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August 2018
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