It was revealed on Thursday 12th August 2021 during the presentation of research findings on challenges that farmers engaged in horticulture production and vendors have been grappling with particularly during COVID-19 pandemic.
The research was backed by CRS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI).
The study shows that at least Rwf720, 681,880 is needed to tackle challenges facing the sector. The funds are expected to be provided in installments starting with the first batch of Rwf148 million in the first year to ensure they are utilized for the right purpose.
The funding will be utilized for trainings and capacity building farmers engaged in horticulture, provide capital for vendors selling their produce, building modern markets and buying post-harvest handling equipment among others.
Dr. Jean Chrisostome Ngabitsinze, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has revealed that the institution is ready to contribute to the cause to promote the production of fruits, vegetables and facilitate access to markets.
“The study outlines the progress and challenges paving the way for next courses of action. The next move to raise funds to be utilized irrespective of available amount. We will draw emphasis on storages, markets and bring vendors together because it is difficult to help individuals when they are scattered,” he said.
Pudence Rubingisa, the Mayor of Kigali City which is among places where the survey was conducted observed that government institutions need to play a major role to find decent markets for vendors of fruits and vegetables.
He also urged vendors to embrace saving culture for efficient management.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Prof. Jeanette Bayisenge who was also present at the event urged women vendors of fruits and vegetables to work hard to contribute to family development through daily activities.
The Country Representative of CRS, Jude-Marie Banatte has said that more efforts need to be done to put research’s recommendations into action.
“The most important thing is that the study pinpoints areas of priority. CRS will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources and other partners. It is possible to be implemented because most of research findings were already in place but lacked proper blueprint. I am convinced that this research is unique. The implementation phase remains the core work of the Government of Rwanda and development partners for the project to materialize,” she stated.
Vendors have expressed concerns that their products have been put to waste for several occasions due to lack of proper storages and effects of COVID-19 where they are required to operate on rotational basis.
“We have been hit hard due to COVID-19. Our products are sometimes damaged yet clients are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables. As a result, we have been encountering losses,” said Claudine Nyirabatoni, a vendor at Kimironko market.
Vendors also expressed concerns over inadequate capital which is still a barrier to their businesses.
Pascal Ngendahimana, Local Economic Development Division Manager at Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA) reminded vendors to work hard and tap into available opportunities where the government’s seeks to promote jobs among youth and women by offering loans at 2% interest rate.
The research was carried out between June and August 2021 in Kigali City, Rubavu and Rwamagana while project implementation will be rolled out countrywide.