A USAID-funded project dubbed Feed the Future Rwanda (Hinga Weze) has invested $32.6 million to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.
The five- year project was launched on 22th July 2017 and is utilising innovative approaches to enhance the production of five value channels which are high-iron beans, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize and horticulture.
By 2022 it will have benefited 700000 smallholder farmers in ten target districts namely: Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma in Eastern Province and Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyamasheke and Karongi in the Western Province while in the Southern Province the project chose Nyamagabe district.
Speaking to Taarifa in an exclusive interview, Sylvain Roy the CEO of CNFA (Creating New Frontiers in Agriculture) a USAID contractor leading a consortium of implementing partners said that the project will address some of the big issues that the Rwandan population is facing like under nutrition and food security by focusing on the sustainable intensification of the country’s smallholder farming systems, with climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive approaches.
He added, “this project is very important and they will do everything possible to succeed by means of our sophisticated equipment. This will also happen via open dialogue with the government of Rwanda”.
“We don’t want to come here in Rwanda to say this is what we must do. We would like to share our thoughts and know whether the Rwandan population is interested in what we do,” Roy said.
Daniel Gies Chief of Party in CNFA said, “We are working today to achieve the ambitious goals that US and the Government of Rwanda set for us. The project will benefit Rwandans by creating more jobs and farmer production that will result in increase in sales.”
Meanwhile, the Hinga Weze consortium includes a diverse group of both international and local Rwandan partner organizations, including Plan International, HarvestPlus, Souktel, Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) and the Imbaraga Farmers’ Federation.
Now, the project has 140 staff members, a hundred of whom are on field in different districts of the country. They also work with the private sector and public sector as well as farmers who are in different cooperatives.
Agriculture is the backbone of Rwanda’s economy accounting for 80% of employment and 90% of the country’s food needs. Over the past 20 years, Rwanda has made significant progress as the country’s economy has grown steadily by 8% since 2001, due in large part to the strength of the agricultural sector.
Key life program targets include:
560000 households directly benefiting from increased agricultural production and improved nutrition.
200000 farmers benefiting from increases in their yields,
4600 ha of land benefiting from improved soil and water management practices,
535000 people using climate information or implementing risk-reducing actions actions to improve resilience to climate change,
Increased prevalence of children from 6 to 23 months consuming targeted nutrient-rich value chain crops,
268000 hectares of land under improved technologies or management practices as w result of Hinga Weze,
40500 households have increased income for purchase of nutritious foods.