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Agro-processing represents Rwanda’s largest manufacturing sub-sector with RWF 222 billion in 2017

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Télesphore Mugwiza, Director of Industrial Development Unit

Kigali: During the 6th National Reference Group meeting (NRG6) today, which is focused on “Making Industrial Policy Work for Climate-aware, Trade-driven and Food security-enhancing Agro-Processing: Advancing interests  and capacities of Agro processors”, the Director of Unit Industrial Development Unit has delivered a message on behalf of the Minister on Trade and Industry. Read his message to the participants below:

On behalf of the Minister of Trade and Industry and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to this 6th national reference group (NRG) meeting.

The 6th national reference group meeting that we are opening today, is a good opportunity for all agro processing players to discuss the practical ways forward for effective implementation of industrial policy for agro processing development in Rwanda.

Participants during the 6th national reference group (NRG)

This important meeting brings together decision makers from ministries and agencies, development partners, the private sector , Civil Society, media, as well as academia to discuss how the implementation of industrial policy can effectively advance capacities and interests of agro processors and address agro processors’ challenges at the interplay of Trade, climate change and food security.

Agro-processing represents Rwanda’s largest manufacturing sub-sector with production output worth 222 billion in 2017.  This represents 56% of total manufacturing and 20% of total industrial output. The growth of this sub-sector has also been impressive with an average growth of 5% per annum since 2010.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry in particular, is aware of the challenges faced by existing agro-processing industries such as access to raw materials at competitive prices, lack of standards certifications, access to finance and low levels of automation.

The agro-processing sector in Rwanda is an integral part of the step change transition towards high-tech manufacturing envisaged in the National Industrial Policy, with specific clusters (pyrethrum, dairy, vegetable oil, soaps and detergents) highlighted as vital for technological upgrading and economic diversification.

The Domestic Market Re-capturing Strategy (DMRS) developed by MINICOM in 2015, highlighted agro-processing as a priority sub-sector, with a potential annual forex saving of $118m from 2015-2020

The DMRS highlighted six agro-processing sub-sectors to prioritize that have a high-medium potential to recapture the domestic market. These are sugar, edible oils, rice, fertilizer, maize and dried fish/aquaculture. The Government of Rwanda has put more efforts in promoting agro processing sector and targeted value chains such as meat, leather, Rice, Cassava, Maize and milk, etc.

The Made in Rwanda Policy developed and approved in 2017 aims at increasing economic competitiveness by enhancing Rwanda’s domestic market through value chain development, both by increasing exports and by recapturing the domestic market.

Most interventions in the policy affect both the agro-processing industry and the industrial sector more broadly. These include tax incentives for raw materials and machinery, reduced electricity tariffs and the development and zoning of industrial parks.

A core component of the Made in Rwanda Policy is the reduction of costs of production by increasing the access to industrial inputs. With support from Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources, strategies to increase the production of critical raw materials will be developed and the yield productivity will be increased for key selected agro-based products.

The policy also will address the issue of quality, Linkages between raw material producers and processors as well the mind set change toward locally made products including agro based products.

The private sector plays a crucial role in the formulation and implementation of industrial policy.

The Industrial Development and Export Council (IDEC) serves as the industrial policy implementation body, where both the private sector and the GoR come together to discuss the issues affecting the performance of trade and industry.

At the regional level, The 2006 EAC Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) is due for renewal to cover the 2018 – 2022 period, and climate change has emerged as a leading threat to agriculture and agribusiness.

East Africa’ production is about 98 per cent reliant on rain-fed agriculture which makes it highly vulnerable to climate change.

As the EAC is currently embarking on the revision of its 2006 Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS), which aimed to create a conducive business environment that facilitates private sector competitiveness for increased investment, productivity and trade;

it is an opportunity for PACTEAC 2 project and the NRG6 in particular to input the review process , to ensure the new PSDS enhance the role of Private sector in addressing climate change  by identifying climate change as a priority cross cutting area for private sector operations in the region

Today we are launching a research study themed “Towards effective implementation of the industrial Policy for agro-processing development:  Reaching out agro-processors through a National Agro-processing forum”.

The study proposes the establishment of the National Agro-Processing Forum (NAPF) to provide space for effective collaboration among the key stakeholders within the sector, to allow them to successfully advocate for the formulation and implementation of a proper, relevant and specific agro-industry policies/ strategies to further enhance the development potential of agro-processing.

In this regards, Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry therefore support the formation of the proposed National Agro-Processors’ Forum (NAPF) where actors in the agro-processing industry will come together and express their challenges and concerns about the development of the sector, after which the Private Sector Federation will be able to channel these inputs to IDEC and efficiently influence the government’s decisions in the sector.

I wish to call upon all the participants gathered here to continue engaging policy makers into advocacy towards implementing key recommendations from the study, especially your inputs on the sustainability of the agroprocessors’ forum within the private sector federation.

With these few remarks, I wish you all fruitful deliberations throughout this meeting and I declare the 6th National Reference Group meeting open. Thank you all. (End)



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