Published Thursday , on 24 November 2022, 11:31:00 by Christophe Hitayezu

Members of National Reference Group (NRG) concerned over quality of supply and infrastructure of territorial markets across the country. The markets are credited to have an important contribution to local economy and healthy food system.

According to Francois Munyentwari, Country Director of the Agency for Cooperation, Research and Development (ACORD), most of current local and global problems, from hunger to climate change effects, turns to territorial markets that could be compared to the lungs of the community life.

“We’re looking at how these markets can sustainably contribute in increasing the production and sustainable health food supply. Sor far, the main issues are based on quality of the commodities as well as infrastructures,” Mr. Munyentwari. “We wish everyone to understand the role of territorial markets in healthy food system,” he added.

Francois Munyentwari, Country Director ACORD, Rwanda

The National Reference Group includes delegates from various government institutions, Parliament, Civil Society, the Private Sector, and the media. Its 11th session held in Kigali on 23rd November 2022, discussed the importance of territorial markets, also called local markets, and how local communities should supply them with agro-ecological food items. Furthermore, the increasing use of chemical fertilizers was discussed as a threat to such items.

However, there were doubts of production capacity of organic fertilizers. “Based on the fact that the population is increasing, do Rwandans have capacity to produce enough organic fertilizers to produce enough yield?” worried Jean Bosco, representative of the Collaborative Council of Organizations for Basic Initiative Support (CCOAIB) in the meeting.

To clarify, Octave Nshimiyimana, the Director of Value Chain at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said that the extent to which chemical fertilizers are used in Rwanda is not that high yet, but assuring that the government has initiative to train local communities on how to make composts so that the same can increasingly be applied along with chemical ones.

In general, the meeting recommended the promotion of better communication and dialogue between all stakeholders, and improvement of access to strategic information. Morever, it also recommended to avail post-harvest services.

According to Rwanda Demographic Health Survey published in 2020, 33% of children under-5 years are stunted, hence, well maintained, and appropriately used territorial markets are suggested to drive changes on the matter.