By: Emmanuel Kanamugire
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources through Rwanda Agricultural Board together with Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) have urged the youth members of this forum to develop entrepreneurship mind-sets and start businesses on their own after completing a year and half working with Post-harvest and Agribusiness Support project (PASP) in 12 districts across the country.
The call was made on Friday, 19th July 2019 during the Project closing ceremony in which officials presented achievements made by RYAF through PASP.
RYAF was mandated to assist the cooperatives in terms of doing financial records, prepare action plans, increasing the produce and marketing. Cooperatives assisted include those that grow maize, beans, cassava, potatoes, vegetables and fruits among other commodities.
According to Olivier Muvandimwe, the RYAF-PASP Manager, the intervention has had enormous contribution to post harvest loss reduction and in the fight of aflatoxin and improved cooperative management.
Innocent Tuyiringire who was a Cooperative Support Officer for Urumuri milk based commodity chain in Rukoma Sector of Kamonyi district said that the cooperative had serious problems but today there are remarkable improvements.
“The most serious problem there was the mismanagement of the cooperative but through my contribution there was improvement and the quantity of milk collected daily increased from 1ooo litres to 1600 today. All milk collected reach the market which was not the case because a great quantity used to be damaged”, he said.
Anastase Nduwayezu of COAMN, a maize production cooperative based in Nyagatare district said he contributed to the good management of the harvest. In more than 20 metric tons, only 10 were able to go to the market.
The 80 Cooperative Support Officers from RYAF, after a year and half providing supports related on advocacy and capacity building were urged to develop the entrepreneurship mind-set so that they use the experience and skills they have got from this project in their own businesses.
The RYAF chairman, Jean Baptiste Hategekimana urged them to turn their knowledge into practice using the skills and experience they got from the project so as to contribute to the Socio-economic development for their personal growth as well as the growth of the nation.
The Deputy Director General for RAB, Charles Bucagu, pledges a continuous support to youth and engaging them into agriculture sector.
“We are ready to work with the youth as they constitue a large number of Rwandan population. Agriculture is not static; it’s dynamic; as time goes on the sector gets many challenges that need skilled people. The youth are the ones who have to take the lead to develop this sector.” Bucagu said.
He continues thanking them for more than a year they spent supporting PASP in cooperative management and asked them to not take the skills and experience they got for granted.
“I hope the experience you got will help you start your own businesses. Take home the lessons learnt and benefit from them.”
More than rwf 500 million were spent in RYAF-PASP project. A t least 235 cooperatives were supported and were provided with Collection centres and other infrastructures, according to Elvis Prince, a PASP project coordinator.