Horticulture sector players and agriculture students will soon be able to acquire modern farming skills, thanks to a new Israel-sponsored project.
Epimaque Nsanzabaganwa, the head of horticulture division at National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), said the $2.5 million (about Rwf2 billion) Horticulture Centre of Excellence will target agriculture university students, researchers, and sector stakeholders, especially those working informally. “Under the project, the target groups will be trained in modern skills and the latest knowledge about growing of vegetables and fruits, which they will then pass on to farmers,” Nsanzabaganwa explained.
The initiative was launched last Friday and the centre will be based at Mulindi. The training will focus on how to grow vegetables in harsh weather climatic conditions, given the fact that Rwanda experiences long drought spells similar to those in Israel, the official added. Nsanzabaganwa said: “Usually, Rwandans invest in vegetable and fruit farming but on a small scale. Therefore, we expect the skills gained from the project to help farmers increase output and exports to regional and other international markets.”
In 2014, Rwanda signed bilateral treaties with Israel, and the two countries have economic and political ties, NAEB officials said. The cooperation was extended to agriculture sector where Rwanda sends 120 students every year for training in Israel.
The country has also helped Rwanda to construct a Rwf23.7 million power generation station that supplies 8.5MW of solar energy in Eastern Province. Horticulture remains a high potential value chain for Rwanda’s economic diversification, revenue generation and job-creation, according to the agriculture ministry. Though the horticulture sector is still young, it is attracting interest from investors who are looking at Rwanda as a potential investment hub to export to regional and global markets.