Published on 21 Sep, 2021

Rwanda Agricultural Board Collaboration with SEAD

Blog Featured Image - Rwanda Agricultural Board Collaboration with SEAD

Having a project that is supporting higher learning institutions in strengthening their education, explicitly seeking collaboration with actors in the agricultural sector is, at least, unusual. The SEAD project, however, made it its mission to realize a strong and lasting dialogue between the education sector, the private sector (farmers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, and associations) and government agencies. The collaboration that was shaped by the project between these actors was to the benefit of all as, in the long run, it improves the quality and relevance of the graduates that enter the labour market, greatly enhances the relevance of the research that is conducted and, not in the least, helps our farmers, cooperatives and agribusiness to enhance their skills, techniques and technologies to improve the quantity and quality of the agricultural produce to contribute to a food secure Rwanda and, at the same time, to the social and economic development of our country.

In the National Agriculture Policy and the Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation, the Government of Rwanda recognizes the importance of agricultural extension in closing the gap between current and potential productivity levels. We therefore applaud the SEAD project for its contribution to the implementation of this Agricultural Policy and Strategy through promoting outreach and extension services by engaging education and research institutions, agribusinesses, local authorities, and the community, including farmers & cooperatives. The project made clear that each has a role to play in outreach & extension. 

The approach taken by SEAD, seamlessly connected with, and informed, the country’s new Customized Agriculture Extension System (CAES), which promotes a more demand-led, value chain based, participatory approach to agricultural extension that is underpinned by the involvement of the private sector, youth, and education institutions. SEAD played an important role in showing the education institutions what role they had to play in CAES and enabled them to craft enduring relations with private sector and local authorities.

Numerous farmers and cooperatives have benefited from the technical training programs that were developed by the education institutions and local authorities for the horticulture, dairy, poultry and potato value chains. Staff working in the extension system in Rwanda, notably the agronomists and veterinarians from the districts and sectors the project was covering, have learned to appreciate the collaboration with the education institutions in their areas.  

We appreciate how SEAD promoted a participatory approach throughout the project, with participants from educations institutions, private sector actors from the respective value chains and our district/sector agronomists and veterinarians, and Farmer Field School Facilitators/promotors under Twigire Muhinzi. Through this approach, the participants did not only gain a wealth of new skills, techniques, and technologies, but also managed to develop invaluable outreach materials for the value chain actors. These resources are of great benefit to our agricultural sector. The training of both agronomists and lecturers of higher learning institutions in the development and implementation of extension services, contributed to creating an impressive pool of trained trainers and to create a solid basis for the education sector to play a lasting role in the CAES.

SEAD also supported research, specifically through its contribution to the successful organization of the 11th triennial African Potato Association conference in August 2019, where more than 350 researchers, policymakers, development partners and entrepreneurs gathered in Kigali to exchange knowledge and experiences on potato and sweet potato production.

Murakoze Cyane!

Dr. Charles Bucagu

Deputy Director General in charge of Agriculture Development

Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB)