The current Agriculture Strategic Plan (PSTA4) highlights the role of extension services delivery system to achieve a market –led agriculture transformation for economic growth. This require strengthening of dialogue with relevant public and private entities to corporate with them in achieving the policy’s objectives.
Kigali on 18th December 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in partnership with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and SEAD ( Strengthening Education for Agricultural Development) organized 1 day consultative meeting with stakeholders in agriculture extension to discuss the harmonization of agriculture extension services delivery challenges, issues and possible solutions in line with implementing PSTA4.
The aims of this consultative meeting was to enhance coordination and integration mechanism of extension delivery towards achieving agricultural transformation under PSTA4 through providing participants with a platform for Consultative on key issues on agricultural extension service delivery.
Speaking at the meeting on his opening remarks Dr. Charles Murekezi highlighted the background and contribution of TwigireMuhinzi in agriculture transformation since it was established in Rwanda. Extension Model has enabled farmers to increase agricultural production significantly and those reached by farmers promoters experience more than 12 percent increase in yields, while those reached the FFS Approach see more than a 37 percent increase in yields.
Murekezi said that NGOs, agri-business and private sectors played a role in the national extension system. This lead the initiation of the BTC sponsored PSNVA project that piloted with district agricultural platforms, linked to the District Joint Action Development Forums (JADF) .Their role was to coordinate agricultural extension initiatives among NGOs.
In PSTA3 TwigireMuhinzi has greatly improved the extension services delivery, The RGB citizen Score for 2018 showed that 69.91% of citizens were satisfied with services provided by frontline extension officers and 63.97% of the citizens were satisfied with Agronomic services. Murekezi said.
He noted that Agricultural Communication and Information Center (CICA) was initiated by MINAGRI to support information communication and dissemination. Still, in 2009, a BTC funded integrated Pest Management project introduced a Farmer filed schools approach, which showed effectives in improving the adoption of IMP technologies.
He thanked the role of Private sector in the delivery of extension and advisory services, including TUBURA, HINGAWEZE, RYAF, SEAD as well as other numerous stakeholders for their role which is being performed in extension service delivery. SEAD works with Education Institutions (Universities and TVETS) to review curricula where RAB personal have participated with its research, innovation and outreach fund, SEAD brought together Universities /IPRSs and Private Sector (Rwanda and Dutch) to unlock value chain challenges in Irish potato, Horticulture, dairy and poultry value chains.
Rwanda has been pushing for a shift from subsistence farming practices toward modern farming as one of the strategies to ensure sustainable food production as well as improve farmers’ livelihoods through increased income from activities. This is importance since over 72 per cent of the population depends on the sector for a living.
The agriculture ministry had to devise strategies to solve them. One of such strategies is the farmer-to farmer extension service model known by its Kinyarwanda name, ‘TWGIRE MUHINZI which was launched in 2014.
This initiative was an answer to farmer complaints over lack of technical support (Agronomists) and demonstration plots for farmers to learn new farming methods, the situation that had effected the sector’s productivity.
The breakout session of the meeting , Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) together with its stakeholders discussed on working together to customize agriculture extension service delivery until final documents released before the end of January 2020 (Next Year).
From RYAF Communication Team