ACDI/VOCA signed grant agreements with five Rwandan cooperatives—Impuyaki Cooperative, Seruka Cooperative, Cooperative Mixte de Buyog, Twitezimbere Cooperative and Kopimu Cooperative—to increase agricultural production and expand the use of agricultural inputs and services in order to help increase farmer incomes. ACDI/VOCA works with cooperatives in Rwanda to help them transform their operations and improve economic opportunities for smallholder members.
Over the next 12 months, ACDI/VOCA’s cooperative development team will assist the cooperatives with grant funding, training and technical follow-up to improve general management and cultivation practices. These efforts will increase agricultural productivity through added crop management, expanded use of agricultural inputs (e.g., fertilizer, selected seed varieties) and small equipment and machinery for processing and technical support. Funding and technical support will target selected food crops, such as grains (wheat, corn and rice), root crops (cassava and sweet potato), beans (soy beans) and tomatoes. Interventions will also link the cooperatives with prospective buyers, including mills and agro-processing plants.
As democratically managed enterprises, cooperatives in Rwanda, like in most countries, face a variety of challenges in developing or expanding their operations. They are often constrained by legislative, financial, organizational, governance and business weaknesses, and their farmer members often do not fully understand the governing cooperative principals.
However, Rwanda is working to transform its economy and become more self-sufficient in overall food production and cooperatives are expected to play an important part.. Agriculture contributes significantly to the gross domestic product, and most of Rwanda’s rural population works in agriculture. Additionally, rising food prices present new opportunities for local farmers by allowing them to compete with imported goods and sell commodities to local buyers with new profit incentives. This in turn fuels investment in agriculture and new technologies.
ACDI/VOCA is one of several international nongovernmental organizations assisting agricultural cooperatives as a focal point for outreach and food production. Funding is provided by USAID through the Title II Food for Peace-funded Multi-Year Assistance Program. ACDI/VOCA will complement its grant program with other initiatives targeted at cooperatives, including farm-to-market road rehabilitation, agroforestry, and support for people living with HIV/AIDs. These interventions will help cooperatives develop, increase their capacity and give their farmer members the tools to lower their vulnerability to food insecurity.
To learn more about ACDI/VOCA’s $15 million, five-year Multi-Year Assistance Program in Rwanda, click here.