RWANDA – Stakeholders in Rwanda’s agricultural sector have rolled out a roadmap to avail adequate quality seeds in Rwanda by 2030 through public-private partnerships to improve food production.

Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Ildephonse Musafiri said this during a two-day national seed congress that concluded on August 1 in Kigali.

Musafiri expressed Rwanda’s aspiration to achieve self-sufficiency in seed production for commodities where it holds a comparative advantage.

According to him, the success of the maize seed subsector in Rwanda, where the country now produces more seed than it imports, serves as an example of the potential for local seed production.

In addition, the country also aims to become an exporter of locally produced seeds to bolster agricultural progress and enhance regional collaboration.

Last year, the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) announced that Rwanda could start exporting different varieties of maize seeds to Central Africa Republic (CAR) and DR Congo following attaining self-sufficiency.

Production of local seeds has now exceeded the amount of seeds usually absorbed on the local market, and efforts are continuing to increase the level of use of improved seed by Rwandan farmers, as well as the possibilities of exporting seed in the region, the statement read.

Rwanda to halt vegetable seed imports

Meanwhile, Musafiri revealed that despite significant progress in producing seeds for key commodities like maize, wheat, and soybeans, Rwanda still imports all its vegetable seeds.

According to him, the high cost of imported vegetable seeds has prompted the government to seek alternative solutions.

In attendance, policymakers and officials from the seed industry highlighted policy and technical actions that would be undertaken such as research and strengthening capacity in seed multiplication to position Rwanda as a hub of high-quality seed and a strong seed industry including vegetable seeds.

Underlining the role of the private sector, the minister called for partnerships with patent-holding firms to enable the multiplication of seeds within the country.

He also urged seed industry players to invest in research to locally develop new seed varieties.

Innocent Namuhoranye, the chairperson of the National Seed Association of Rwanda, noted that seed multiplication requires specific climate conditions for successful development for which Rwanda has potential.

On his part, Telesphore Ndabamenye, director of Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, stressed the importance of quality seeds of resilient varieties in transformative agri-food systems.

He said aligning seed availability with farmer adoption is necessary to ensure improved agricultural productivity and livelihoods.

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