The second national agricultural policy dialogue under EPGA project (Enhancing Participatory Governance and Accountability) was held on Friday, 6th December 2019 at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali.
The dialogue organised by Rwanda development Organisation (RDO) as one of the EPGA project implementers brought together different key stakeholders in agricultural sector, among them were government officials, donors, civil society organisations, international non-governmental organisations, farmers and the private sector.
Octave Semwaga, the Director General of planning at the Ministry of Agriculture said that the policy dialogue was a necessary platform to discuss issues raised by farmers and propose appropriate solution.
Semwaga emphasized the role of agriculture in economic development, poverty reduction and nutritional security of the country. “As stated in the national agriculture 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,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of RDO, Eugene Rwibasira said that they convened the dialogue to share with different stakeholders the key issues raised by farmers and jointly reflect on them in order to find appropriate solutions in line with the roles and responsibilities of concerned actors in agriculture.
Rwibasira noted that they are holding the dialogue for the second time at the national level while other talks had been held at the district levels. Issues raised by farmers are first discussed at lower levels and those that cannot be resolved are brought to the national level.
During the dialogue, John Mugabo the coordinator of EPGA at RDO presented a paper summarising the critical issues raised by farmers from the five districts covered by the project. The five EPGA targeted districts are Nyanza, Nyaruguru, Gakenke, Rulindo and Nyamagabe.
Following the presentation, participants at the dialogue discussed the issues raised and formulated recommendations that will be shared to relevant actors for addressing them.
Enhancing Participatory Governance and Accountability is a 3-year project running since April 2017. The project is funded by USAID through Trócaire Rwanda and implemented by Rwanda Development Organisation, Commission Episcopale Justice et Paix (CEJP) and Union des Cooperatives Agricoles Integrees (UNICOOPAGI).
The project aims at Strengthening Participatory Governance and Accountability by strengthening effective participation of civil society and citizens, particularly women and youth in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programs in the agricultural sector that contribute to increased transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in public policy development.
The aim of the project fits well with the strategic direction of the Government of Rwanda, as set in the National Strategy of Transformation (NST1), especially under the Transformational Governance pillar, and PSTA4, where citizen participation, transparent and accountable governance are among the drivers of change.
User friendly Kinyarwanda hand-books launched
During the event, two user friendly Kinyarwanda hand-books were launched, one on the seed policy and Minagri Citizen Charter which will help farmers better understand policies directed towards them.
Rwibasira said that the books were translated to Kinyarwanda because it’s the language understood by most of the farmers and they are intended to inform and educate them.
He added that they will continue to translate into Kinyarwanda and print more user friendly policy hand-books to solve communication problems among farmers.