Agriculture employs 80 percent of the labor force in Rwanda, and the country's solid growth record and macroeconomic stability provide a solid foundation for agricultural investment. Rwanda has committed itself to generating sustained agricultural growth, including increasing the share of the national budget allocated to agriculture from 3 percent in 2006 to 7 percent in 2010. Rwanda’s investments appear to be paying off; annual agriculture growth has averaged over 6 percent since 2007.
At the same time, partially due to low agricultural productivity, nearly half of all Rwandan agricultural households experience food insecurity. Inadequate infrastructure and linkages to regional markets restrict the growth of this sector. Through Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, USAID is promoting inclusive agricultural growth throughout the country.
USAID strives to expand economic opportunities in rural areas by building sustainable market linkages, improving policy coordination and developing land policies. USAID is also improving infastructure such as feeder roads and irrigation systems. Post-harvest losses—estimated at about 40 percent among staple crops—are being reduced through better processes, technologies and storage facilities.
Current agricultural activities build on years of progress and accomplishment in Rwanda. In the dairy sector, USAID's work has increased the productivity and profitability of processors and improved the lives of rural Rwandans, especially people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children. Producers and cooperatives have gained the tools and skills to strengthen the value chains of crops such as coffee, chili peppers and pyrethrum. Since 2001, USAID has supported improvements in the coffee sector to allow farmers to gain a strong reputation in the international market, increased incomes, and better job opportunities especially among women. With USAID’s continued support, specialty coffee production rose 18 percent in 2010 and export value increased by 15 percent.
This 5-minute video details the work of the USAID Privatization of Rwanda's Fertilizer Import and Distribution System (PReFER) project. Implemented by IFDC, the project is assisting the transfer of responsibility for fertilizer procurement and importation from the government to the private sector. For this shift to occur, a professional network of private sector agro-dealers must be created and a sustainable fertilizer supply and distribution system must be in place.
Last updated: February 28, 2014