The New Times Kigali Triphomus Muyagu
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Over 200 farmers from across the country are expected to showcase their products during an event, dubbed Accountability Day, organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF), which starts today.

The three-day event, that runs through December 5 at Gikondo Expo Grounds, was organised through the Chamber of Rwanda Farmers’ (CoRF) at PSF, in partnership with the Kingdom of Netherlands.

Addressing the a news conference, yesterday, Christine Murebwayire, the chairperson of the Chamber of Rwanda Farmers, said showgoers will have the opportunity to buy farmers’ products at lower prices.

« The event will also serve as a platform for us to present what we achieved to various players; from government to agricultural other actors, including investors and experts. We will also subject ourselves to scrutiny, we believe in being held accountable in everything that we are doing, » Murebwayire said.

The Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock is made up of 17 associations that are involved in cultivation and other agricultural related activities.

Murebwayire said exhibitors will also be able to showcase newly invented technology in the sector while visitors will have a chance to witness the various agricultural products on show.

« The work we are doing contributes to the development of the country; meeting together will enable us discuss some agricultural challenges facing farmers so as to find lasting solutions. We want farmers to embrace a new thinking and practise agriculture in a professional way, we should be able to turn a page on subsistence farming and usher in the era of commercial farming, » she added.

She noted that the « Accountability Day » will serve as an opportunity for the chamber to assess and evaluate themselves since they started operations in 2006.

They will also discuss the impacts of climate change and advisory services on market access.

On their achievements, Murebwayire said, they have been able to train farmers on both management of businesses and business plans design.

« We took farmers on study tours in countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia, from where they acquired good experiences. We even signed some business deals with some countries with view to boosting our exports, » said Murebwayire.

« We have linked over 100 farmers to international markets and today they export products there. »

Donatien Mungwarareba, the director of communication at PSF, said the event will be open to anybody and urged youth participation.

« We are expecting the youth and students from universities to be among the participants, this is an opportunity for them to observe agricultural techniques and how the sector can help address the challenge of unemployment, » Mungwarareba said.

Regina Kayitesi, the national project coordinator of LIFAM, a project that links farmers to markets, discouraged local hotels from importing agricultural products that are grown locally.

« Some hotels have been importing agricultural products due to lack of enough information on what local farmers produce, we have invited local hoteliers to this event so they can witness what Rwandan farmers are able to produce… this is the right time to create market linkages between local hotels and the farmers, » Kayitesi said.