Impact Area

Food Tech & Trade in Rwanda

The African Food Fellowship is looking for creative ways to stimulate
the mid-stream sector of agri-business that will contribute
to a fair and competitive agricultural sector in Rwanda.

Context Statement

Agriculture is a priority sector for Rwanda’s economic development. It contributes 31% to the national GDP, and it employs over 70% of the population. According to Rwanda’s 2050 Vision for Transformation, Rwanda aims to have, by then, replaced subsistence agriculture with fully monetized and technology-intensive commercial agriculture. For that vision to materialize key new investments need to be made in strengthening the entire agribusiness value chain from primary production, commodity processing, and value addition, to distribution and retail.

Rwanda is yet to seize the full economic benefits that can derive from strategic investment in agribusiness development. Value addition through processing, storage, transport, wholesaling, retailing, food service, and other functions that transform farm commodity outputs into foods needs to be drastically strengthened. Value addition beyond farm level is currently exacerbated by several bottlenecks such as a lack of information, and low technological capacities for post-production processing and packaging. This is preventing producers to meet quality requirements and thus delivery and access to high-value markets. These challenges often result in high levels of post-harvest losses at distribution, processing (e.g., aflatoxin contamination during storage), and consumption level (e.g. spoilage, household waste). In the aftermath, discouraging the production of nutrient-rich perishable foods thus hampering dietary diversity for a growing population. Agro logistics also needs to be strengthened. The inadequateness of transport logistics at the domestic level has also crucial effects on its export competitiveness resulting in bottlenecks and delays (WB, 2019). Weak transport sector is a crucial issue causing problems in mobility but also hampering economic corridors as well as feeder networks. To brave these challenges, actors active in the food tech and trade space will have a crucial/significant role to play.

There is an unprecedented opportunity for actors active in the space of market infrastructure development to strengthen enough capacity by providing adequate infrastructure, enhancing the skills improving access and affordability of technologies, and access to infrastructure to preserve food quality over time after harvest. Moreover investing in logistics systems e.g., cold chain vehicles, and feeder roads to lower costs of aggregation, technology, and post-harvest handling practices. These are essential measures to guarantee an enhancement of the market value chains, especially of more perishable products. There are also opportunities for brokers to facilitate market access and price information for producers, traders, and consumers. Information technology will also be necessary for improving market information flow, service delivery, financial inclusion, climate risk adaptation, and farmer feedback (MINAGRI, 2018). Other opportunities to transform the sector lie in concentrating efforts on increasing the scale of production through private investments, improving market linkages and logistics services, as well as increasing volumes and quality supply from small-scale producers.

Call to Food Systems Leaders

Rwanda faces challenges in food technology and trade that will require the participation of multisector actors in addressing them. The African Food Fellowship aims to bring together aspiring food systems leaders with a passion for improving food technology and trade, being one of the most effective ways to address the aforementioned challenges. If you belong to any of the communities below you would greatly benefit from our Food Systems Leadership Programme.

Producer/member of farmer of associations.

Provider of cold room and food-preserving technologies.

Food processors/technologists.

Tech, finance, and investors for value addition.

Food trader.

Compost/waste aggregators.

Policymakers in Food Technology and Trade.