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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Public-private partnerships key in agric transformation

Government and the private sector should work together to enhance the agriculture sector and agribusiness development in the country, Attaher Maiga, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Rwanda, has said.

Maiga noted that the move could attract more investments into the agriculture industry.

“It is essential to boost the capacity of agro-enterprises and farmer organisations. There is also need to engage public and private sectors to develop uniform strategies that promote agribusiness investment to increase productivity and the country’s growth,” Maiga said.

Maiga was speaking during an East Africa Community and FAO regional workshop on agribusiness and agro-industry investment promotion in Kigali The workshop attracted over 30 agro-economists, experts and dealers from across the region.

“Public-private partnerships are critical to attract investments in the agriculture sector... We urge stakeholders across the region to work together and devise mechanisms that support agribusiness in the region,” Maiga said.

He noted that the increasing global demand for high-value agricultural products presents private investors a lot of opportunities to expand their enterprises. He however decried the low investment into the sector, saying this is affecting agriculture industry’s growth.

Emmanuel Kamugisha, the agriculture and food security officer at the Rwanda Ministry of East African Community Affairs, said efforts to step up agribusiness support were ongoing.

“We want to increase knowledge on appropriate methodologies and tools that we can adapt to promote investment into the agriculture sector,especially value addition and other activities along the value chain,” Kamugisha said.

However, it is also important to understand the sector needs and identify challenges in the value chain to be able to come up with the appropriate investment strategies, he added.

Innocent Musabyimana, the Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary, said the size of the agricultural market in Africa is about $68.2 billion annually (and still growing).

“Therefore, we should improve agriculture to benefit from this growing demand,” he said.

According to Musabyimana, embracing value addition is key to increase the competitiveness of the country’s agriculture exports.

Sector experts, say EAC partner states need to define individual national goals and agribusiness investment promotion strategies reap from growing global food market.

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