IFAD delegation visits Rwanda to discuss rural development gains

0
716
©IFAD

A high-level delegation from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), led by Gérardine Mukeshimana, IFAD Vice-President, visited Rwanda this week to discuss the country’s progress in developing rural areas and the investments needed to continue to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth despite challenges including the effects of climate change.

The delegation’s visit included high-level meetings with key Rwandan officials, including Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr Ildephonse Musafiri and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana. These productive discussions focused on strengthening strategies to address the challenges faced by Rwanda’s agricultural sector and IFAD’s innovative financial offering to unlock further investment.

Rwanda’s economic success story hinges on its robust agricultural sector. This sector is supported by 3.4 million farmers, contributes a significant 23 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and with 69 per cent of households engaged in agriculture. However, this vital sector faces significant threats; unpredictable weather patterns, drought, and erratic rainfall jeopardizing food security and economic stability, particularly in rural areas where most people rely on rain-fed subsistence farming.

“IFAD recognizes the critical role Rwanda’s small-scale farmers play, despite the challenges they face. During our visit, we witnessed the tangible results IFAD’s investments have made in improving and restoring the landscape in drought-prone Kayonza and supporting small-scale farmers to improve their incomes while building their resilience to shocks,” said Gérardine Mukeshimana, IFAD Vice-President.

During the visit Vice-President Mukeshimana observed first-hand the impactful results of the recently concluded KIIWIP 1 project in the Kayonza district. This innovative, farmer-led initiative has established fruit orchards with avocado, citrus and mango trees. These fruit trees combined with intercropping offer a multitude of benefits, including preventing soil erosion, improving air quality, and providing valuable and diverse nutritional benefits to rural households. Additionally, the project empowers small-scale farmers by promoting increased income opportunities and food security.

The visit reaffirms IFAD’s unwavering commitment to supporting Rwanda’s long-term rural development goals. Since 1981, IFAD has co-financed 21 rural development programs and projects, with a total investment of US$791 million, benefiting over 1.5 million Rwandan households.

By working together, IFAD and Rwanda can continue to empower small-scale farmers, ensure food security, and promote sustainable agricultural growth in rural areas, creating a more resilient future for Rwandan communities.