The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today convened the second ‘Agriculture & Agribusiness CEOs Forum’ in Kigali.
Held under the theme ‘Agriculture and Agribusiness, Fertilizer of Economic Growth’, the forum brought together close to 130 business leaders in the agriculture sector in Rwanda, representatives from RDB, Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources, as well as the Private Sector Federation, to discuss business opportunities and challenges companies in agriculture encounter when operating businesses in Rwanda. It also served as a follow-up platform to discuss the progress made in the sector since the first forum held last year.
In her opening remarks to the business executives present, Louise Kanyonga, RDB’s Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer said:
“At RDB we are mandated to nurture and spur private sector-led development by facilitating among others, increased investments and exports. Our interaction today therefore is testimony to the high value we place on what you do as champions of the industry. The agriculture sector contributed 29% of our country’s GDP in 2018. It’s also important to remember that over 70% of Rwanda’s population is engaged in the sector. Therefore, our support to you, agriculture and agribusiness executives, is due in part to the recognition of what you do and the impact you create on our national development,” she noted.
Speaking while presiding over the forum, Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said:
“Rwanda’s Agriculture policy and plan for the strategic transformation of Agriculture (PSTA 4) is hinged on transforming agriculture from a subsistence to a market oriented sector. Opportunities exist for investments in agriculture value chains right from production, agriculture services to value addition.”
RDB’s Chief Investment Officer, Guy Baron also presented investment opportunities within the sectors in horticulture, irrigation, poultry, aquaculture and dairy subsectors. They include;
- In horticulture, six specific opportunities were identified; vertically integrated snow peas and chillies farm, passion fruit farm, end to end shiitake mushroom production, an aggregator and provider of inputs to high value horticulture crops and a cold chain logistics provider.
- In irrigation, the government’s Gabiro project with Israeli irrigation technology firm, Netafim will help tackle irrigation and land challenges through the development of a fully irrigated commercial farm that will be available for farming by investors on lease basis.
- In poultry, there are strong growth opportunities in egg production as the government is looking for the most cost effective animal protein to provide micronutrients needed for child development.
- In aquaculture, the government is exploring different initiatives to increase local supply of fish given Rwanda has abundant water bodies and evolving consumer habits. The target is to increase annual consumption to 112,000 metric tons.
- Lastly, Rwandan dairy products have potential access to a large and fast-growing regional market, with proximity markets worth an estimated US$ 160 million. Rwanda’s milk producer price is also lower than all neighbouring countries except Tanzania.