By George Kalisa
Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) December6 launched two user friendly handbooks – MINAGRI Citizen Charter and the other on seed policy in an effort to respond to farmers’ needs and increase their participation through the project dubbed Enhancing Participatory Governance and Accountability Project (EPGA)
The hand- books in Kinyarwanda which intend to solve communication problems among others were launched at the second National Policy Dialogue on Agriculture issues raised by farmers in the five EPGA target districts – Nyanza, Nyaruguru, Gakenke, Rulindo and Nyamagabe.
The hand-books that were translated and produced by Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) have been described as timely and relevant by the farmers.
“The books are easy to ready and will increase our knowledge and skills in agriculture variously because they are written in our mother-tongue, Kinyarwanda, and productivity on our farms will increase since we shall be doing the right things on the farms,” said Eugene Murwanashyaka, a participant at the dialogue.
Presiding over the dialogue and the launch of the handbooks on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Octave Semwaga the Director General of planning at MINAGRI underscored the role of agriculture in Rwanda’s economic development, poverty reduction and nutritional security.
“As stated in the national agricultural policy, the agriculture sector constitutes around a third of the economy, accounts for just under half of goods exports and provides employment for over two thirds of the working population. Therefore, the agricultural sector is a central driver in Rwanda’s transformation from a low-income to a middle-income economy, and key in uplifting citizen livelihoods,” said Semwanga.
He said to ensure the ministry plays its role efforts were directed towards implementing the forth strategic plan for agriculture transformation (PSTA), which entails innovation and extension, productivity and resilience, inclusive markets and value addition, and enabling environment and responsive institutions.
On the policy dialogue Semwanga said it was a necessary platform for discussion on how set policies “are implemented and to twist, improve, emphasize or make drastic changes if required”.
“Our role is to inculcate skills in the farmers through capacity building and we complement other institutions at different levels, and oversee diseases control and fertilizers application among others,” observed Patrick Karangwa the Director General of Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).
The dialogue that took place in Kigali was organized by Rwanda development Organisation (RDO) one of the implementers of EPGA
Others were representatives of Commision Episcopale Justice et Paix(CEJP) and Union des Cooperatives Agricoles Integrees (UNICOOPAGI) and Rwanda Gorvernance Board (RGB). The project which farmers from the five districts said has helped them gain food security and modern farming skills started in April 2017.