A Small and medium Enterprise (SME) fund, and a multi-stakeholder platform were launched on Friday in Kigali to prevent post-harvest losses.
The multi-stakeholder platform will enable and encourage exchanges and dialogues to create a policy environment for institutionalizing stronger collaboration between public, private, and civil society players in advancing the circular economy for the agriculture sector in Rwanda.
“The project will reach out to farmers, hear from them on how to prevent post-harvest losses. It will also prevent loss of products in markets, and in transportation. We can decide on establishing cold rooms, refrigerators, and providing fast transport of goods. It will depend on discussions, challenges found and solutions, for each challenge,” Dr. Christian Sekomo, Director General of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) said.
The project was launched as part of a three-year project dubbed “Circular Food Systems for Rwanda” which is running from 2021 with the aim to transform Rwanda’s food system and make it more circular and sustainable.
In circular food systems the production of plant biomass for human consumption is prioritized, losses are prevented, by-products are re-used as fertilizer or animal feed while farm animals are mainly kept to convert human inedible by-products and grass resources into valuable animal sourced foods (ASF).
“It will be a technical assistance facility. It is part of the efforts to have enough food for people. We shall be working with five to six SME in the country, but the skills of preventing post-harvest losses goes down to the farmers,” Dr. Rebekah Shirley, Deputy Regional Director of World Resources Institute (WRI) Africa said.
WRI is Rwanda’s partner and coordinator of this project which is sponsored by IKEA Foundation, a non profit organisation which promotes sustainable livelihoods while cooping with climate change.
By implementing circular economy for food, the project will also help to ensure that food is produced in ways that regenerate nature, reduce food loss and waste, and make effective use of typically squandered resources.
On the same note, encouraging SMEs to adopt circular business models and developing an enabling regulatory environment to spur system transformation.
This project is being implemented through collaboration of World Resources Institute (WRI), the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) Secretariat, Resonance, the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), and the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) through the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC).
Available figures from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that farmers lose about 30% of their agricultural produce in the post-harvest process.