In her 5-year strategy, AGRA in Rwanda plans to prioritize agricultural SMEs’ competitiveness and sustainable access to support services as a key driver for the Inclusive Agricultural Transformation. Competitive SMEs are key in making the agricultural sector a contributor to growth and enable government to withdraw as an actor from the agricultural sector.
AGRA Rwanda’s delivery model is to work through agribusiness partnerships organized in a consortium model. A consortium will be comprised of private and public sector actors that provide a range of farm services and market linkages to smallholder farmers growing various crops. Services to be provided by the consortia will include but not limited to facilitating access to markets, post-harvest training, supply of inputs and tools (fertilizer, seeds, crop protection products, post-harvest handling technologies, etc.), machinery, finance, business development and extension services.
The country program will encourage and incentivize market off-takers (e.g., buyers, aggregators, millers/processors who will in turn guarantee market linkages) to become a Lead Firm that further invests in the supply chain, while at the same time supporting smallholder farmers’ access to markets, inputs and tools, extension services and finance.
We recognize that agricultural markets and value chains are changing rapidly, both locally and globally. New demand patterns among consumers, novel production processes, and innovative marketing practices are all shaping how value is created from primary products to the final consumer. All these dynamics need to be captured to inform interventions. Market data and information is crucial for a robust food system. However, the lack of information and unavailability of input and output market data poses significant challenges for stakeholders, especially when designing inclusive supply chain interventions in different value chains and geographies, hence limiting their ability to make informed and relevant decisions.
To address this challenge, AGRA Rwanda would like to conduct a comprehensive analysis of both input and output markets for target value chains. Data collected is expected to support relevant stakeholders in getting a better understanding of locations, commodities, capacities, distribution of target value chains.
Over the course of implementing our food systems transformation strategy, several key bottlenecks have been identified and need to be addressed to achieve sustainable market led transformational goals; these are:
- Thin markets for most commodities. Most of the market actors are small, unstructured, and informal entities. SMEs in the agricultural sector are small and informal. Their contribution in the food system is not visible.
- Less understanding, utilization, and coordination among existing marketing infrastructures, how they could complement each other for the market led transformation interventions to gain the most out of it.
- Limited and little understanding of market requirements and/or how to respond to those requirements, by the SHFs.
- High costs associated with procuring commodities from smallholder farmers coupled with limited success of aggregation centers
- Limited innovation among value chain actors thus analysis and recommendations on building capacity for value chain innovations and enterprise development is very vital.