Church leaders from across the country have agreed to work with the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in mobilizing their followers, mostly farmers; to improve agricultural practices throughout the farming communities.
RAB has established a collaborative initiative with the Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) to provide community empowerment services through CPRs new program, which aims to build self-reliance among communities for improved food security and poverty eradication.
The new collaboration is expected to improve the access to agricultural information by the community and at least 23 Protestant member churches ready and eager to help the Rwandan government to fast-track the implementation of its policies.
Innocent Musabyimana, Deputy Director General at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) says that communities need to be fed with the word of God but this has to be vested in a sound body, and through the teachings of the church leaders, the communities can progress in both aspects.
Musabyimana asked the churches to promote, in the summons and outreach, the benefits of agriculture, land use consolidation, use of fertilizers, Crop Intensification Program, One Cow per family Program, and One Cup of Milk Program, to eradicate malnutrition.
Bishop Alex Birindabagabo, the Representative of EAR Rwanda Apostolic Church) and President of CPR, said that Rwandans attitudes can be changed through the active participation of churches; and was hopeful that the initiative will go miles.
We (the church) pledge together to shape and facilitate the processes of social change through our churches, mobilize and directly empower Rwandans initiatives for adoption of good agronomic practices and involvement in the agricultural extension activities,” Bishop Birindabagabo said.
Agriculture in Rwanda accounts for a third of Rwanda’s GDP; constitutes the main economic activity for the rural households (especially women) and remains their main source of income. Today, the agricultural population is estimated to be a little less than 80% of the total population. The sector meets 90% of the national food needs and generates more than 70% of the country’s export revenues.
The new move will be an additional effort for Rwanda’s intent to improve the agricultural sector which accounts for a good percentage of Rwanda’s community livelihoods. Rwanda has set up various programs to improve the sector, and the country is now planning on using ICT for agriculture as a solution to bring more information to farmer-making agriculture a smart sector.
The country has through the economic development strategy papers (EDPRS) has set key action areas for the growth of the agriculture sector- these include: Identification of potential sources of rapid and sustainable growth within the agricultural sector; identification of key policies and institutional reforms and supporting investments needed to unlock growth; and prioritization of actions needed to stimulate increased agricultural growth.