The Rwanda Horticulture Working Group (RHWG) was launched in August 2015 by Rwanda’s National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) to provide an informal platform for dialogue between stakeholders in the sector, and to provide a channel for formal dialogue with government on issues.
The Rwandan government is looking to develop the sector as part of a series of initiatives aimed at delivering on ambitious targets for exports growth set out in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2). The government has started to invest in value-chain development as part of the implementation of the strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA 3). Horticulture has been added to traditional export crops (tea, coffee and pyrethrum), in order to meet the targets set out in the plan. The revised National Export Strategy (NES) targets growth in horticulture exports from US$ 6 million in 2013 to around $16 million in 2018. Although horticulture is currently predominantly exported to neighboring countries, and only constitutes a small share (around 2.4%) of non-traditional exports, growth in the sector is seen as key to diversifying and expanding Rwandan exports.
The working group is focused on value-chain issues requiring collaboration by different stakeholder groups and value chain players, including:
- High freight charges that could be lowered if exporters form a trade association to consolidate produce
- Lack of cold chain infrastructure
- Lack of resources for soil quality improvement programmes
- Efficient processing of land applications.
Additionally, the group promotes and facilitates opportunities for investments in the horticulture sector and convenes periodic meetings with high level policy makers to strategize on ways to position the Rwanda horticultural sector as a regional and global player in the sector.
The RHWG is co-chaired by the CEO of the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) and the peer-elected General Manager of fruit and vegetable export company Proxi-Fresh, Arnaud de Rambures.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) supported the launch of the RHWG while Grow Africa increased private sector participation.