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African Green Fund: Kigali Forum Turns Focus on Small Farmers

by Dan Ngabonziza & Daniel Sabiiti
12:21 pm

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Rwanda will this September host Africa’s most lucrative agricultural advancement revolution forum with over $30billion expected to come in investment pledges to propel the green revolution on the continent.

Rwanda as this year’s host of the annual 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2018) to be held from September 3-7, 2018 with a focus on investing in smallholder farmers according to the event organizers- Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the government of Rwanda.

Rwanda was selected to host the Forum due, in large part, to its leadership role in agriculture, both at home and across the continent.

For example, in January 2018, at the African Union (AU) Summit, the country was recognized by the African Union Commission (AUC) as the top performing nation on the continent in the pursuit of agricultural goals and targets.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said that this is an opportunity for Rwanda to showcase its progress and get support in funding agriculture projects especially in the private sector.

“From that perspective AGRA would be looking to invest in system development and in aligning partnerships, we are expecting to invest over 26million in the next five years, but billions of dollars can be brought to Rwanda at the AGRF through public commitments and private investment,” Dr. Kalibata said at just concluded Transform Africa Summit.

Now in its 7th edition, the AGRF is considered the world’s most important and impactful forum for African agriculture. It pulls together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.

In just the past two years, the Forum has seen major continental commitments on agriculture. The AGRF 2016 in Kenya, for example, resulted in commitments of more than US $30 billion dollars to support the continent with investments to increase production, income, and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years.

The 2017 edition in Cote d’Ivoire, on the other hand, saw close to US $6.5 billion worth of business deals in palm oil, pulses, potato, and rice by the private sector.

Valerie Mukangerero, 53, works in her pinapple farm in Rwamurema village, Eastern Rwanda. AGRF forum will discuss funding of such projects

Zimbabwean tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa, the Chairman and CEO of Econet Wireless, as well as Chair of the AGRF Partners’ Group, said “ business and progress as usual is not enough for our aspirations as a continent; we must do more and do it more successfully.”

He further said, “We chose to come to Rwanda because of its exemplary progress. By scaling the right policies, programs, and investments, governments and partners in the African agricultural landscape can now transform the lives of millions of smallholder farmers,” Masiyiwa said.

While Rwanda was two years ago awarded by Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP for its progress in agriculture revolution, Rwanda’s Agriculture Minister Dr. Gérardine Mukeshimana, said that more work need to be done in promoting smallscale farmers and value chains.

Currently Africa spends more than $35 billion every year on imported food stuffs. This trade deficit is a big problem that needs quick fixing.

Our agriculture is run by small holder farmers who feed us, provide exports and grow our economy. This deficit will be bridged by putting them at in front of our proprieties by improving value chains at every level and ensuring proper post-harvest storage as we have done in Rwanda,” Dr. Mukeshimana said

The 2018 Forum will attract close to 2,000 delegates including current and former Heads of State and Government; Agriculture and Finance Ministers; eminent leaders of global development institutions; among others.