Rwandan farmers urged to improve competitiveness as agriculture show opens

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-20 00:14:22|Editor: yan
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KIGALI, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The 14th National Agriculture Show of Rwanda opened Wednesday in Rwandan capital Kigali, with a call on farmers to add value to agricultural produce and improve their competitiveness.

"It's time for Rwandan farmers to take sustainable measures to increase competitiveness in global markets while ensuring better quality produce," said Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwandan minister of agriculture and animal resources, at the opening of the agricultural show running until June 28.

She called on farmers taking the huge advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and be able to sell their agricultural produce across the continent.

In order to exploit the African markets, farmers need to effectively manage their produce such as timely harvesting, post-harvest management and quality control and to use secure storage facilities such as cold storage for perishables to reduce losses, said Mukeshimana.

About 80 percent of Rwandan farmers are smallholders who need to be trained in improved agricultural practices to achieve high quality yields that meet international standards, she said.

The exhibition themed on "promoting competitiveness of the Rwandan agriculture sector" attracted individual farmers' organizations, financial service providers, insurances, agricultural products and equipment companies, international exhibitors and other local and international agricultural agencies.

On display are a wide range of innovations and the best practices in the agriculture sector, including irrigation and mechanization, information and communication technologies in agriculture, agro-processing products and livestock.

Rwanda's agriculture sector employs about 58 percent of the total population, according to the ministry of agriculture.

Agricultural export revenues of the country amounted to over 515.9 million U.S. dollars from July 2017 to June 2018, increasing from over 221.7 million dollars earned in the same period from 2016 to 2017, figures from the National Agriculture Exports Development Board showed.