Rwanda urged to fix mismatch between trade and agriculture policies

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-14 03:37:30|Editor: yan
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KIGALI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- There is a mismatch between trade and agriculture sectors in Rwanda which affects agricultural productivity and trade, an FAO report released on Wednesday said.

The report on Coordination between Agriculture and Trade Policymaking in Rwanda released in Rwanda's capital city Kigali said trade and agriculture bodies need to start working together for complementarity.

In Rwanda, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture related sectors, but initiatives to improve agricultural productivity in the country are often constrained by market and trade-related bottlenecks, according to the study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

These can result from conflicting agricultural and trade policies, said the report, adding that this lack of coherence not only affects Rwanda's international trade potential, but also creates obstacles to achieving food security and the sustainable development goal of zero hunger for all.

The report called on government to act as a private sector enabler as opposed to a private sector actor in order to improve agriculture and trade policy coordination.

Trade in agricultural goods accounts for a significant share of Rwanda's total goods trade, where agriculture-related imports including food crops for consumption and processing, and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were 386 million U.S. dollars in 2016, or 21 percent of total imports, according to FAO.

Agriculture's share of total exports was 35 percent in the same year, said FAO.

Agriculture and trade policy coherence in Rwanda would be improved through several ways such as better use of established coordination mechanisms and facilitating dialogue with all stakeholders, said Charles Murekezi, the Director General of Agriculture Development at Rwanda's ministry of agriculture, at a workshop discussing the methods of addressing the issues in the report.

Cassien Karangwa, Commodity Value Chain Trade Officer at Rwanda's ministry of trade, said collective efforts would be made to assess the problems that each side has in order to increase exports.