The limited farmers’ participation in agriculture related Imihigo (district performance contract), results from the poor explanation of the process by local leaders to beneficiaries. This was raised in dialogue on social accountability, held in Kigali on September 5, 2018, with theme ’collective action to improve imihigo in agriculture, citizen’s voice matters’.
All Imihigo actors chain met for discussing the issue
In October 2017, Transparency International Rwanda effected baseline survey on farmers’ participation in agriculture related imihigo, in Kayonza and Nyanza districts. The result revealed that in a whole process, farmers’ participation varies between 15.8% and 23.4% in planning, 15.3% in evaluation and surprisingly 68% in implementation.
“Process is not well explained to farmers at village level and their consultation is poor,” said Juvenal Musine, the program Manager of Imbaraga farmers Organization. “Farmers at village level are not consulted in planning or given feedback about imihigo; when comes its implementation they take part in it innocently.”
"When researchers ask their part, farmers respond that they don’t participate; which justify their limited involvement in planning and evaluation but highly involve in implementation," Musine added.
Musine Juvenal, program Manager of Imbaraga farmers organization speaking at the meeting
There is a gap in farmers’ awareness
According to Fred Musime, in charge of education program at Never Again Rwanda, farmers consultation is poorly done. “The main reason is the budgeting cycle, that starts in October while implementation of imihigo starts in July, which is practically impossible to implement without budget,” said Musime.
“When the budget is out at last minute, local leaders find themselves cornered. Hence, they don’t have time to consult citizen; to their best try, they use indirect participation by representatives, with apparently representatives that didn’t get time to consult ones they represent. To those consultation meetings, they go without package of what is needed to be included in imihigo,” added Musime.
Musime advises the local government to use current channels in agricultural based system, to reach out to many farmers so that they can participate in planning of imihigo. The same way can also be used to reach to them with feedback.
Government sees otherwise
Mr. Thacien Yankulije is the Director of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government; he doesn’t agree with the idea of running out of time, he insists that local leaders are given enough time. “From planning to evaluation, imihigo process is well organized, and local leaders have enough time to meet beneficiaries, and discuss about whatever need to be done,” said Yankulije;
“The result is obvious; nowadays we receive many requests from citizens and left with challenge of explaining why they are not all implemented,” added Yankulije.
But he agrees that feedback is still a long way to go; he says that they will continue to remind and advise local leaders to use current community channels to consult citizens, and give feedback.