Published Wednesday , on 13 September 2017, 21:59:42 by Christophe Hitayezu

The coherence of agriculture and trade policies is crucial in promoting agricultural productivity and trade. In Rwanda, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture related sectors, yet initiatives to improve agricultural productivity in the country are often constrained by market and trade-related bottlenecks. These can result from conflicting agricultural and trade policies. 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.

To address this challenge and to assess the coherence of policy and coordination mechanisms between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), FAO, with support from the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) facilitated a workshop in Kigali (13 September 2017).

[Photo] During the meeting, Kigali

Among the objectives of the meeting were the alignment of sectoral policy interventions and the promotion of strategic use of public and private resources. Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Charles Murekezi, the Director General of Agriculture Development at MINAGRI, provided a number of ways to improve agriculture and trade policy coherence in Rwanda. He noted the importance of better utilizing established coordination mechanisms, facilitating dialogue with all stakeholders, and improving trade capacities to better understand trade agreements and non-tariff barriers, among others aspects.

The workshop was attended by a cross section of stakeholders from the Ministries of Agriculture and Animal Resources; Trade and Industry; private sector representatives and donor groups.

Need for improved coordination between all stakeholders

FAO Assistant Representative for Rwanda, Alexis Ruzigana stressed the important correlation between agriculture and trade and its implication for investments.

"Trade related policies and agreements play a fundamental role in providing the regulatory framework to attract the private investments needed to diversify and add value to African agricultural production. Even though…the development and implementation of coherent and appropriate policies and strategies to realize the full benefits still to be achieved," he said.

The workshop was able to identify areas that require attention and these include:

• strengthen the implementation of the coordination mechanisms that are already in place
• improve the technical capacities of both MINAGRI and MINICOM on agricultural trade policy issues
• establish strong coherence and coordination of the policies and
• incorporate the private sector in the policymaking processes and implementation.