On Friday 19th July 2019 Rwanda youth in agribusiness Forum (RYAF) presented the achievements of RYAF after one year of implementing Post-harvest and Agribusiness Support project (PASP) activities in 12 districts of Rwanda (Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma, Kirehe, Kamonyi, Muhanga, Ruhango, Nyanza, Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu) in Cooperatives under PASP supported commodities/Value chain (Maize and beans, Irish Potatoes, Cassava and dairy Business (Milk)).
These responsibilities were given by the Ministry of Agriculture through RAB, SPIU/IFAD Funded Project to involve the Youth/ New graduates as they are considered as engine for agriculture transformation. The youth involved include 80 Cooperative Support Officers and 50 PASP Supported Cooperative Managers.
The main responsibility of these youth was to help cooperatives (in target) in their ways towards transforming agriculture practices from “Just farming” but to market oriented farming. Through doing financial record/Book keeping, assisting cooperative for the development and review of 5 years strategic plans and annual work plans, Supporting and linking cooperatives with buyers (markets), sensitizing the cooperative members to generate ideas for bankable Business Plan developments and ensuring follow-up of the activities after business plan financing, coaching cooperative members on Postharvest Good practices especially for the prevention of Aflatoxin.
Speaking during the event, the Deputy Director General for RAB, Charles Bucagu highlighted the contribution of RYAF in development of agriculture sector to help cooperative to increase agricultural productivity
“We are so grateful with your work for more than a year you spent supporting PASP in cooperative management, RAB will continues to support youth’s initiatives because Youth are considered as engine of change towards agriculture transformation in Rwanda”. Bucagu said. He also recommended the youth that they should grab the employment opportunity with thinking how they will create the job for themselves and for others and consider the job as the source of capital to start their own companies dealing with bringing innovation in Agriculture transformation. He also recommended them to start their own business through using experience on what their learnt from cooperatives they have been working with during this past whole period.
About RYAF PASP SUCCESS
Olivier MUVANDIMWE RYAF/PASP presented the achievements during the implementation of PASP The intervention has had enormous contribution to post harvest loss reduction (Aflatoxin) and improved cooperative management
In one year and half, youth achieved a lot for the cooperative development considering the extent of each activity performed on., where Above nearly 12,000- cooperative members were trained on Good postharvest Handling and Aflatoxin prevention, Cooperatives supported to have a viable 5 years of strategic plans at 95%, 95% of the cooperatives has consisting market contracts with big buyers, and 78% of the cooperative under intervention are under PASP/PHCRAB Business plan financing scheme…
Innocent Tuyiringire who was a Cooperative Support Officer for Urumuri milk based commodity chain in Rukoma Sector of Kamonyi district said that the cooperative had serious problems but today there are remarkable improvements.
“The most serious problem there was the mismanagement of the cooperative but through my contribution there was improvement and the quantity of milk collected daily increased from 1ooo litres to 1600 today. All milk collected reach the market which was not the case because a great quantity used to be damaged”, he said.
Anastase Nduwayezu of COAMN, a maize production cooperative based in Nyagatare district said he contributed to the good management of the harvest. In more than 20 metric tons, only 10 were able to go to the market.
The 80 Cooperative Support Officers from RYAF, after a year and half providing supports related on advocacy and capacity building were urged to develop the entrepreneurship mind-set so that they use the experience and skills they have got from this project in their own businesses. For this perspective, Mr. Muvandimwe Olivier, RYAF-PASP Manager said that they have created a Company (“Ishema Agri-Trust-Co Ltd”) gathering all RYAF-PASP Team which will be using expertise acquired from working with cooperatives,…just to solve the potential problem which keep emerging in agriculture.
According to Elvis NKUNDANYIRAZO More than rwf 500 million were spent in RYAF-PASP project.
Generally, About 235 cooperatives were supported and were provided with Collection Centres and other infrastructures by the project
In his remarks, Jean Baptiste Hategekimana, RYAF Chairman thanked the government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) for creating RYAF as an umbrella of all young entrepreneurs in agriculture as one voice to get advocacy of different partners.
He thanked all cooperative support officers for their efforts made to help cooperatives to be successful in postharvest good practices to co-op level, linking coops to markets, book keeping……
The RYAF chairman, Jean Baptiste Hategekimana urged them to turn their knowledge into practice using the skills and experience they got from the project so as to contribute to the Socio-economic development for their personal growth as well as the growth of the nation.
Being asked if it will never have a negative impact to leaving cooperatives which were still in need of Support from RYAF under PASP Support, Mr. Muvandimwe Olivier responded that they have created a socio-Media Platform (Whatsapp Group) which gather RYAF-PASP Team and the farmers from each cooperative which were under RYAF-PASP intervention, in sake of continuous delivery of extension and advisory services whenever needed. He said that it an initiative which will keep RYAF-PASP intervention to be sustainably viable and keep cooperative development at the good pace.