The First Agri-Business Development Services in Rwanda
On Friday November 04, 2016, amongst a buzz of excitement from attendees and guests, SPARK, RICEM and AgriProFocus launched the event to celebrate the graduation of Rwanda’s ﬁrst Agri BDS Network and Course at Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali.
“The Agri BDS event brought together experts in different segments of the agricultural value chain, which made it a professional networking place for agricultural stakeholders and members of the Agri BDS Network” – Laurent Ulimubenshi (SPARK)
Planting a seed in private sector development
The aim of the event was to unlock the potential of agribusiness, to make agri-entrepreneurial dreams come true. Speakers emphasised the importance of strengthening the environment for cooperatives and agri-businesses in Rwanda, by providing them with high-quality business development services. Pieter Dorst, of the Dutch Embassy in Rwanda, gave the opening remarks and commended the creation of the Agri BDS Course. He emphasised that the provision of such services is worth paying for to ensure sustainability. He said: “With this project, we have planted a seed in private sector development. Now it’s key that we nurture this seed. This seed can be damaged very easily, for example, by well-meaning organisations providing these services for free”.
SPARK is implementing the Cooperative Support Programme (CSP), funded by the Dutch Embassy. SPARK carried out a contextual analysis and capacity assessment of Agri BDS providers. RICEM developed Rwanda’s first Agri BDS curriculum and provided training, while AgriProFocus assisted in setting up their network.
“Because of this event, both APF and SPARK, benefited recognition by the government of Rwanda and development partners of our role to the development of the agribusiness environment in Rwanda” – Anatole Majyambere (AgriProFocus Rwanda)
Strengthening services provided
One of the successful graduates expressed his gratification for the skills he’d been taught and encouraged the audience to help boost Agri BDS in Rwanda. He said: “Members of the network are professional service providers working in all sectors of agriculture value chains. We are here to strengthen service provision in Rwanda’s agriculture sector”.
The guest of honor, Mr Nathan Gashayija, Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs, congratulated the graduates warmly. He pledged the support of the government to the Agri BDS Network and encouraged members of the network to champion locally value-added grown and/or made products both in Kigali, and throughout Rwanda.
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