Consultation on a new agriculture policy underway
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has kicked off a series of consultative meetings meant to upgrade the new agriculture policy that seeks to make agriculture and livestock more productive to optimize sector benefits.
According to Dr Octave Semwaga, the Director General in charge of Strategic Planning and Programmes Coordination in MINAGRI, the new agriculture policy will focusing on productivity and commercialization for food security and income, resilience and sustainable intensification, inclusive employment and improved farmers’ skills and an effective enabling environment and responsive institutions.
The Director General made the comments on December 23, 2016 in Kigali during a consultative meeting with over 100 farmer representatives from all districts. The meeting was meant to gather inputs from farmers to ensure that the new policy is beneficial to the farmers.
Fulgence Nsengiyumva Minister of State in charge of agriculture noted that the new policy is being developed to replace the one implemented since 2004; explaining that it’s being revised to take into consideration Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are in line with the government’s policies and programmes.
The new policy is intended to promote sustainable water management for climate resilience in farming and rural areas through development of more efficient irrigation systems, dams and soil water management; promote cultivars and animal breeds adapted to the impacts of climate change. The new policy will also put emphasis on value- addition to agricultural produce through setting up agro processing units and enabling proper post-harvest handling to avoid losses.
Policy will also improve availability and access to affordable and nutritious food in rural areas to the farmers and the new policy will promote the growing of crops that are rich in nutrients so as to improve nutrition.
Before the new policy document is taken to the cabinet meeting for approval in February 2017, officials explain, it will be first taken to local leaders so that their views are taken into consideration. The policy is due to be implemented in 2017.