Knowledge Seminar – Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA4)

One Agri-TAF goal is to help MINAGRI improve its use of evidence and tacit knowledge in developing policy and programmes to have a greater impact on Rwandan agriculture. Our most significant opportunity to date was provided though the three-day knowledge seminar in June 2017 at the Kigali International Conference Centre.

This event brought together just over two hundred experts, practitioners, government, non-government and private sector actors from Rwanda and beyond, including farmer organisations. Experience was shared from Benin, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel and Kenya, and latest econometric modelling of Rwandan agriculture. Government officials attended from MINAGRI, RAB, NAEB, MINISANTE, MINECOFIN and MINALOC, and development partners from the World Bank, EU, DFID, FAO, EKN, USAID. The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Gerardine Mukeshimana spoke in a panel session.

The seminar provided a space to share current and innovative thinking and practices, generating new ideas and identifying transformational opportunities to feed into the design of PSTA 4, learning lessons from the achievements and challenges of PSTA 3.

The specific contribution Agri-TAF made was:

  • Supporting seminar design and delivery, assisting in facilitation and rapporteur roles working in partnership with Minagri, FAO and donors
  • Providing expert input in working sessions, on gender, nutrition, climate and environment
  • Preparing a note of proceedings to share the knowledge gained through the seminar.

The process developed for the seminar was highly participative. On the first two days there was a mixture of plenary presentations, panel discussions and small groups.

For the small group working sessions, an adapted “World Café”[1] process enabled maximum choice, energy and interactivity so participants with particular knowledge could contribute most effectively.

On the third day, intensive working sessions were held to distil the learning from days 1 and 2 and present suggestions for programmes to include in the PSTA 4 draft document being developed for final discussion at Cabinet.

Some of the key themes and conclusions reached were:

  • The need for a customised approach in program delivery, based on evidence and characteristics of the farmer, farm and agro-ecological context;
  • The need for support to small farmers to manage risk;
  • The shifting role of government from market actor to enabler, and need for supportive policy and institutional environment for private sector investment, as well as for greater analytical capacity within government; and
  • The need for adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change and food insecurity.