The paper intends to take stock of the situation in the agricultural sector of Rwanda. The main purpose is to identify the gaps in the efforts so far; and subsequently to consider new policy interventions that are needed to achieve the goal of eliminating the ‘Fear of Want’. The sector’s performance is crucial in achieving the MDGs in the country. Noteworthy is that the largest part of Rwandan population agriculture is a livelihood and for the policy makers the sector is continuing to be a development problem. This paper analyzes the links between agriculture, food security and poverty reduction in Rwanda based on available secondary data. It is done in light of two important happenings in the country development scenario after the completion of the reconstruction phase (after war and genocide) of 1994-98. The first is related to the overall development strategy that is followed by the country. Rwanda has set a clear strategy of development in the form of VISION 2020 and also a programme for poverty reduction in the form of PRSP. The second important development was with respect to sector specific initiatives. Four important initiatives merit mentioning- ‘The Strategy and Action Plan for Food security’, ‘The National Agricultural Policy’, the ‘Strategic Plan for Agricultural Transformation’ and the ‘Long-Term Framework for The Implementation of The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Rwanda’. All these plans were framed for an exhaustive transformation of the agriculture sector so as to bring about the necessary change that is needed to face the challenges of abolishing absolute poverty and hunger. The following hypothesis was framed to guide the analysis: a more productive and profitable agricultural sector is the necessary component in meeting the challenges of attaining food security and abolishing absolute poverty in Rwanda. This hypothesis reflects Rwanda’s national perspective and linked to the country’s development plans (PRSP and VISION 2020) and policies. Analysis enabled to oversee the hypothesis in order to arrive at plausible conclusions related to Rwanda’s agricultural sector performance during last six years (1999-2005). Some crucial areas like cropping pattern, incentives, agricultural prices, public distribution system, implementation of land reform measures etc needs the right attention. If the agricultural sceptics have their way, most Rwandans will face a bleak future of worsening poverty and hunger.


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