Ambassador Khan reveals plans to facilitate Rwandan farmers in buying Pakistani machinery

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 5 May 2024 at 02:21

Pakistani Ambassador to Rwanda, Naeem Ullah Khan, says that plans are underway to empower local farmers with machinery to increase efficiency and maximize their produce.

In a recent interview with IGIHE, Khan revealed that the initiative will be implemented in collaboration with the private sector.

The ambassador said he is in talks with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, as well as some companies, including the Bank of Kigali and the Africa Organization of Technology in Agriculture (AOTA), to ensure the initiative takes off.

"Whenever I visit Rwanda, I see people working manually in the agricultural fields. My observation is that farmers lack the resources to purchase machinery such as tractors or plows. Therefore, I am currently in discussions with organizations like AOTA, as well as several other entities including the Bank of Kigali and other banks, to facilitate Rwandan farmers to acquire agricultural machinery from Pakistan,” the ambassador stated.

If the initiative succeeds, farmers will be facilitated to buy advanced agricultural machinery from the South Asian country and pay the cost in affordable instalments.

“We are thinking that on a commercial level, something is already happening, but we want to offer a package for the farmers of Rwanda so that they can buy machinery on easy installments.

“For example, let’s say we a tractor priced at around $7,000 to $10,000 (RWF 8-10 million), which includes a plow, cultivator, harvester, and other necessary machinery. We can divide the total cost into different installments, allowing farmers to make a down payment and then pay the remaining amount monthly or every two months. We will involve banks, companies, and guarantors so that this becomes a reality,” Khan said.

Khan affirmed that the agricultural machinery in Pakistan is suitable for the Rwandan hilly topography, as attested by a 26-member delegation that visited the country for a three-day expo in January of this year.

“The agricultural machinery of Pakistan is very suitable for the Rwandan topography. Rwanda is known as a country of a thousand hills, with a climate often described as eternal spring.”

“With numerous water springs and ample rainwater, combined with the undulating terrain, our machinery is perfectly suited. It’s neither too large to navigate the mountains nor too small to be ineffective. We offer a medium-range machinery that aligns perfectly with Rwanda’s geography, soil, climate, and weather,” he stated.

At the same time, Ambassador Khan praised the strong trade ties between Rwanda and Pakistan, which have contributed to the growing export of tea to Pakistan since he assumed office about seven months ago.

“When I arrived here six to seven months ago, our bilateral trade was $30 million annually, and now it has reached $70 million in just six months due to our efforts. One of the major exports from Rwanda to Pakistan is tea. Pakistan is a nation of tea drinkers. We typically consume tea five times a day; it’s not just a habit but a ritual, a custom, and a tradition,” the ambassador explained.

He emphasized on the need for local traders to take advantage of Rwanda’s strong ties with Pakistan and the large population of 250 million people to export more products including avocado, coffee and legumes among other agricultural products.

“I am urging Rwandans to consider Pakistan as one of their destinations — to visit, explore business opportunities, and sell their products. While tea exports are already thriving, coffee and avocados have great potential. Avocado exports have begun, but there is room for growth. Currently, we are purchasing Rwandan avocados from other countries at high prices. Why not sell them directly to Pakistan?" he posed.

“Pakistan is a country of 250 million people so it’s a huge market for Rwandan business persons and they can bring good quality but cheap Pakistani products to Rwanda also. If you want to have textile, Pakistani textile is one of the world’s best textiles and the price is not that expensive as compared to other countries.”

While praising President Paul Kagame’s progressive leadership, the ambassador also noted that Pakistan is ready for research collaboration with the agriculture departments in Rwanda to facilitate the cultivation of rice varieties from Pakistan.

He also revealed that there are ongoing discussions about a Pakistani company setting up a free economic zone in Rwanda. He said he had identified and recommended two pieces of land in Musanze and Huye for the construction of the facility aimed at promoting economic growth, attracting foreign investment, boosting exports, and creating jobs.

Ambassador Khan says, Rwandan farmers will be facilitated to buy advanced agricultural machinery from the South Asian country and pay the cost in affordable instalments
Ambassador Khan praised the strong trade ties between Rwanda and Pakistan