WFP Country Director Abdoulaye BALDE and Dr. Agnes Kalibata Minister of agriculture talking to farmers during the commodity trade fair in Kigali.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) recently organised the first ever Commodity Trade Fair to enhance market opportunities for smallholder farmers in Kigali.
The fair brought for the first time together the major local grain traders, representatives of farmers’ cooperatives and agricultural markets service providers. Traders signed agreements with the smallholder farmers to buy about 5000 metric tones of food commodities. The traders also promised to buy over 40,000 metric tones of food commodities within the next six months. WFP will follow up on the promises to ensure they are contracted and delivered.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mr. Deo Bapfaguheka, the chairman of the Nyagatare union of maize farmers said ‘before WFP assistance to access markets opportunities, there was a gap between us and the big buyers, we were forced to work through middle men usually at unfair prices, but now we discuss directly with the big buyers’. He went on to reaffirming farmers’ capacity and commitment to deliver the required quality and quantity. He was confident that the established relationships will prevail in the harvest seasons to come, fostering long-standing partnerships and facilitating sustainable marketing options for the farmers.
The event was graced by two ministers, Dr. Agnes Kalibata of MINAGRI who opened the ceremony and Ms Monique Nsazabaganwa of commerce, trade and industries, who closed the ceremony. Dr. Agnes Kalibata appreciated the initiative and ensured Government’s support to increase food production in rural areas while the Minister of trade and Commerce ensured support to provide market opportunities for smallholder farmers. She confirmed that at least 40% of government purchases will be contracted directly from smallholder farmers.
Since the launch of the first P4P purchases in Rwanda in April 2010, WFP has purchased over 4,400 metric tones of food worth about USD 1.3 million (798 million RwF) from ten farmers’ cooperatives and two farmer cooperative unions, together representing more than 14,000 small farmers” said Abdoulaye Balde,WFP Representative in Rwanda.
John Paul Sesonga is from Rwanda. He has a law degree and a diploma in journalism from the Uganda Management Institute. He wrote various articles on economic and legal issues for Rwandan media outlets before joining WFP.