64 smallholder farmers benefit from AGRA Market Access Programme - No fewer than 64 representatives of smallholder farmers from 8 districts across Rwanda will benefit from the Markets Access Programme funded by the the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), according to a statement issued here.
The move is part of efforts to improve the volume and quality of commodities as well as market access in the Central African nation.
As part of Rwandan government's heavy investment in the provision of seed and subsidised fertilizers, the increased production has created post-harvest commodity management challenges, leading to post-harvest losses, poor quality and farmers’ inability to connect with valuable markets.
To rectify this, the project targets 90 existing cooperatives and associations with an estimated membership of 18,000 smallholder farmers.
PANA reports that at least 180 trainers from the target cooperatives were trained in cooperative governance and management, business planning and entrepreneurship, post-harvest commodity handling and management, and marketing skills.
According to the statement, AGRA confirmed it has mainstreamed the capacity of nearly 20,000 farmers who are organised in 79 maize and 21 beans cooperatives.
It said despite this overwhelming production, household income and productivity remains low due to lack of improved seed and poor integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), and that post-harvest losses are high (15- 30%) due to poor handling and storage facilities.
Moreover, quality of produce is low and farmer cooperatives to support smallholder farmers to improve volume and quality of commodities and access valuable markets remain weak.