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2018/19 budget: Rwanda invest more in Agriculture

Rwanda invest more in Agriculture Targets making sector climate resilient, more productive

Kampala, Uganda | FRANCIS BYARUHANGA | Rwanda has again increased its budget allocation to agriculture sector and edged closer to meeting the Maputo and Malabo declarations which require member states of the African Union to allocate at least 10% of their annual budgets to agriculture.

Rwanda’s budget allocation to agriculture in the FY 2018/19 is at 7% from 5%. That makes Rwanda one of the few states in Africa to have achieved this level of agriculture funding.

Dr. UzzielNdagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning,while presenting the 2018/19 to both chambers of parliament on June 14, announced that the agriculture sector would get Rwf124.7 billion.

He said the planned expenditure in agriculture aims at increasing production and agro-exports and fighting the impact of climate change. Last year Rwanda witnessed an increase in prices of agro products due to drought in some parts of the country.

The minister said the government is looking to increase the land for irrigation (and farming)to 11,329 hectares as government moves topromote climate resilient approaches in drought prone areas with a project expenditure of Rwf9.8 billion next fiscal year, up by Rwf7 billion.

Another Rwf2.5 billion will be spent on programs like artificial insemination and awareness on seed intensification and support coffee and tea farmers.

Rwanda’s flagship integrated beef project at Gako received Rwf5.6 billion in the new budget,while anotherRwf4.5 billion has been earmarked for construction modern kraals and farms at Nyabikenke, Gatonde, Munini, Gatunda and Byumba locations.

The government also plans to give out 4,000 cows under the Girinka program that targets poor households to improve their nutritional level and also boost their income.

Agriculture is one the drivers on Rwanda’s economic growth, accounting for 31% of the total GDP, after growing 7% growth rate.

Despite drought and other challenges, the country managed to register 39% growth in agriculture and livestock exports, according to Minister Ndagijimana.

Agriculture exports earned the country US$428 million compared to US$262 in 2015 from products like coffee, tea, vegetables and fruits, flowers and pyrethrum, among others.

During 2017 agriculture was the second contributor to Rwanda’s economic growth.

The services sector contribution to GDP was highest at an 8% growth rate and adding 46% to the economy.

Francisca Tengera (MP) said agriculture remains the highest source of employment for Rwandans at over 72% of the country’s 12 million people. She said that over 5.08 million Rwandans were directly employed in agro-activities in 2017, of which 1.3 million were workingwith 8,829 cooperatives, adding that it is among the strategic sectors that could boost GDP in future.

Tengerasaid promotion of research in the sector and farmer capacity building, especially on post-harvest management will be undertaken during the coming year to make the sector competitive.

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