The ongoing National Agricultural exhibition at Mulindi Showground has attracted 250 exhibitors, innovators and researchers.
The expo commenced June 26th and will conclude on July 3rd under the theme; “Invest in Innovations and Agribusiness to Transform Agriculture”.
This 13th agricultural show brought together individual farmers’ organizations, financial service providers, insurance companies, agricultural products and equipment companies, international agricultural exhibitors and other local and international agricultural agencies.
Among the agricultural innovations showcased at the show is a form of dam called “Valley Dam” that can store 40000 litres of water capable of feeding 5000 cattle for a period of six months and solar powered boreholes which will be used in irrigation in a response to climate change.
Opening the national agricultural show on Wednesday, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana said Rwanda has achieved a lot in the development of agriculture starting from enhancing ICT in agriculture.
“In partnership with financial institutions, the Ministry of Agriculture introduced the ICT driven method to distribute fertilizers and seeds to farmers, also known as ‘Smart Nkunganire’. Today, more than 9000,000 countrywide are registered in Smart Nkunganire,” She said.
During the opening of the show, the Ministry of Agriculture presented key achievements of the Plan for the Strategic Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA) 3 which started in 2013 up to June 2018.
Among the achievements attained, in soil erosion control, the progressive terraces have been created up to 923,604 ha area in 2017 from 802,292 ha in 2013 while the radical terraces number has increased to 110,041 ha from 46,246 ha in 2013.
Rwanda’s land area reserved for agricultural activities under irrigation has increased to 45,508 ha in 2017 from 27,796 ha in 2013.
Rwanda’s agricultural products export value has grown from $208,987,598 in 2013 to $356,510,660 in 2017.
According to Dr. Charles Murekezi, the Director General of Agriculture Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda aspires to develop the agriculture from subsidiary to commercial agriculture.
Dr. Murekezi said that PSTA 4 looks at consolidating the achievements that “we have witnessed in PSTA 3. We want to improve the professionalization of farmers; we want more farmers in cooperatives”.
“The other major component of PSA 4 is to adapt measures to climate change by increasing the area under irrigation which we want to increase from 45,508 ha we have today to 102, 284 ha. We also want farmers to adapt growing grasses which they can store and provide to cows and other livestock during the dry spell. This will ensure that we improve the productivity in our livestock sector,” he added.