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PSTA 4: From subsistence to market-led Agriculture sector

Some of the experts at the knowledge seminar in Kigali, one of a series of consultations being undertaken to come up with PSTA4. The new strategic plan is designed by FAO under an EU funded project. (©FAO/Teopista Mutesi)
25/08/2017

Agriculture is the economic mainstay of the majority of households in Rwanda and makes a significant contribution to the Rwanda’s economy. The sector accounts for approximately 30% of the GDP (GDP –National Accounts 2016) and employs about 69% of the labor force (NISR, 2014). Agriculture will be central to the structural transformation of Rwanda’s economy, contributing to economic growth, exports, job creation, increased land and labour productivity.

Understanding PSTA 4

Since 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has developed and implemented three phases of Strategic Plans for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA), the main policy framework for agriculture development in Rwanda aiming at harmonizing the agriculture sector development activities with the national Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Vision 2020.

The PSTA 4 is the Strategic Plan for the Agricultural Sector under Rwanda’s EDPRS 3, covering the period 2018-2024. In planning the next 6 years strategy, lessons from the past strategic plans have been incorporated to address present and future challenges as well as tapping into the new opportunities created. With funds contributed by the European Union (EU), FAO is providing support to the development of PSTA 4. 

Incorporating regional and international commitments  

PSTA 4 will be aligned to National, Continental and International objectives. At the national level, PSTA 4 will start putting into practice the updated National Agriculture Policy with a vision of having a productive, green and market-led agriculture sector. In addition, PSTA 4 will contribute to achieving commitments under the Malabo Declaration, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well the 7 years Government program (7YGP).

Consultations leading up to PSTA4

In preparing PSTA 4, the ministry worked closely with its key development partners such as FAO to tap their technical knowledge and expertise to come up with a comprehensive and forward looking strategy.

Various stakeholder consultations were held, including with private sector, farmer organizations and women groups, to get feedback and suggestion and to maximize the involvement of all stakeholders. The consultations have proven vital to help the ministry get innovative ideas that will spur the agriculture sector into uncharted areas with great success.

A knowledge seminar was held from 7-9 June 2017, bringing together local and international experts to share experiences and expertise, as well as sector stakeholders involved and/or interested in the new PSTA 4. During the seminar experts who had conducted various studies on past performance of the agricultural sector in Rwanda, presented their work showing challenges, best practises and future growth trajectories of the sector.

Where we are now

Currently, there is a second draft of PSTA 4 drawing inputs from the various consultations and workshops with MINAGRI, RAB and NAEB, as well as other key stakeholder ministries and affiliated institutions. Experts from those institutions developed the Monitoring and Evaluation framework of PSTA 4, ensuring the integration of indicators and alignment with SDG, Malabo declaration and 7YGP. As a next step costing of the identified activities will be undertaken and implementation arrangements will be defined. Consultations continue with stakeholders will continue until a final draft is submitted to MINECOFIN later this year. PSTA 4 will become operational by mid-2018.

What is new?

PSTA 4 is a continuation of PSTA 3, which was addressing a similar set of constraints and opportunities as today. However the priorities have shifted on a number of areas. Some of the strategic innovations of PSTA 4 include: strengthened focus on better land management, shift towards market orientation and farm profitability, strengthened private sector service delivery and investment, push for domestic market recapturing and high-value exports in value chains where Rwanda is naturally competitive, enhanced focus on diversified animal resources (e.g. fisheries, poultry, pork), and more emphasis and investment in research and skills development. In addition, PSTA 4 will prioritize food security and poverty reduction and will pay increased attention to ensuring that agricultural production is nutrition sensitive, sustainable, and resilient.

 

Key pillars of the strategy

The PSTA4 will be structured around four core pillars: 

1: Enabling Environment & Responsive Institutions

2) Productive and inclusive markets and value addition

3) Increased productivity, diversity, Sustainability and Resilience of Agricultural production

4) Research, innovation and empowerment

 

Expectations of PSTA4.

The consultations have highlighted some of the wishes of the farmers and other stakeholders to make the sector more productive and market-oriented.

“Given the nature of our country, technology should be strengthened so that we are able to irrigate our crops and harvest all year round. Farmers should have more access to fertilizer, and we would like to see small scale farmers protected from exploitation”, says Nsabimana Charles, a Potato farmer in Burera district

Mukeshimana Chantal a mother of two, farms one and half hectares in Musanze district. “Value addition to our agricultural produce is important for us to earn more money. The new strategy should ensure all farmers in the country can add value to their productivity regardless of the volume of the output”, she suggests.

Leaving no one behind

The overarching goal of PSTA4 will be the transformation of Rwandan agriculture from a sector characterised by low productivity to a sector using knowledge to increase productivity and investing in value addition and commercialization. This shift is needed to ensure that a reduced agricultural workforce will be able to meet the demand of an increasingly urban population within the context of a resilient and sustainable food system ensuring food and nutrition security for the Rwandan population.

PSTA 4 is aligned to 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and will uphold the principle to “Leaving no one behind” in this transformation process. It will be modeled on needs-based solutions for various groups of farmers and will ensure that marginal-subsistence farmers are supported with social protection programmes and other measures in terms of skills development to ensure they graduate out of subsistence farming and into jobs along the agricultural value chains and beyond (on-farm and off-farm job creation).

This transformation will be inclusive with empowering measures to ensure women and youth will not be left out, as the productivity increases needed will depend on engaging everyone to their abilities. Ends