IFAD-supported Project to Strengthen Post-harvest Interventions and Climate Change Resilience in Rwanda

IFAD7 April 2014: The Climate Resilient and Post-harvest Agribusiness Support Project (PASP), launched in Kigali, Rwanda, by the Government of Rwanda and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is expected to advance the country's efforts to reduce post-harvest losses and will target over 32,400 rural households (155,518 people) in 10 districts in the country's northwest, southern and eastern regions.

The project will provide opportunities for smallholder farmers to acquire the skills, knowledge and access to specialized service providers to create and operate businesses able to deliver larger volumes of improved produce to the market and manage climate risks in post-production processes.

From 2007 to 2011, under Rwanda's Crop Intensification Programme (CIP), total production of maize, wheat and cassava tripled, bean production doubled, and rice and Irish potato production increased by 30 percent. However, post-harvest losses provide one of the best opportunities for improving crop productivity and resilience given the country's reliance on rainfed agriculture and its vulnerability to climate change.

With multiple cropping systems promoted under the CIP, harvesting is taking place during wetter times of the year, which means that farmers can no longer rely on the sun to dry cereals. In addition, higher humidity at harvest is conducive for developing microorganisms and insects, leading to greater deterioration of stored crops, while temperature fluctuations complicate the safe storage, transport and cooling of milk in the supply chain. To combat these climate-induced stresses, new agricultural investment programmes must incorporate improved post-harvest processing and storage techniques, which is what the PASP aims to do with an IFAD loan of US$13.45 million and grants of US$13.45 million and US$7 million provided by IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP). The ASAP will provide incremental support to address the climate-related post-harvest problems in CIP crops and dairy, and ensure that appropriate mechanisms are established to safeguard food security.

Francisco Pichon, IFAD Country Program Manager, said PASP is expected to leverage at least three times the investment being made by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources from financial institutions, as well as viable partnerships between smallholder farmers and the private sector. He said it should not be just about scaling up projects, but about scaling up investments and results.

IFAD and the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning signed the financing agreement in February, and the ratification documents were submitted to IFAD on 28 March 2014. Since 1981, IFAD has invested US$239.1 million in 15 programmes and projects in Rwanda, reaching over 534,300 households. [IFAD Press Release]