Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in Rwanda is Zero Hunger. This goal aims at ending hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. It was therefore important that Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative was established in a period that Rwanda seeks to transform farming from subsistence into commercial farming where farmers not only grow crops for home consumption but for both the local market and export.
Orange-fleshed sweetpotato TAAT Compact was officially launched in Rwanda by International Potato Center (CIP) in collaboration with Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) at Lemigo Hotel, Kigali on Tuesday 14th August 2018. It is a three-year program which will be implemented in 12 African countries including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameron, DR Congo, Uganda Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
According to Daniel Mbogo, the Technology Transfer Officer at International Potato Center said that CIP will be working with commercial farmers or household farmers who grow orange-fleshed sweetpotato and other sweetpotato varieties for income and food security. “TAAT will also support activities that are for enhancing OFSP value addition, especially at small scale level. We will also help small businesses who want to do some value addition to OFSP processing like roadside sellers doing crisps and chips, hoteliers and restaurants who want to incorporate OFSP to their daily menus, small bakeries in terms of equipment for operation for puree, crisps and chips,” he added.
Although OFSP has become a familiar crop for most Rwandans, there is still a linkage gap between root producers and vine multipliers as well as processors. Therefore, Mbogo further explained that during the implementation of this initiative, efforts will also be put into market linkages through linking farmers/root producers to processors and training of processors to do products from OFSP.
“In Rwanda, malnutrition still stands at 38% whereas iron deficiency stands at 17% in children and 27% in women, said Augustine Musoni, the representative of DDG at RAB during his opening speech.
Musoni continued to explain that although these percentages look to be low, but they are intolerable in the country.
“By 2050, Rwanda aims to eliminate iron deficiency and malnutrition and therefore RAB as the government implementing organ in MINAGRI, we are pledging to work hand in hand with different research institutions and the Aagricultural sector to achieve this,” he added.
He welcomed the TAAT initiative as he thanked The African Development Bank for supporting the agricultural sector.
Amandine Umukesha, the AFDB representative who was present during the launch in her remarks mentioned that the bank is happy to be part of the initiative.
She said, “For the bank we recognize that African people have been getting food from other countries while many populations live by agricultural proceeds. Let’s look through our capabilities to transform agriculture from what I can call a low profession to high technology for African people to feed themselves and go beyond Africa and feed other continents.”
Through this initiative, Umukesha believes that farmers will be able to produce different kinds of technologies to produce more and generate incomes leading to the development of the country but also develop themselves, eliminate massive importation of food and be proud to sustain themselves.
The OFSP TAAT Compact has got three main objectives which are;
Objective 1: Increased productivity and production of OFSP among smallholder and large-scale farmers.
Objective 2: Improved incomes from roots and processed OFSP based products along the value chain.
Objective 3: Create awareness about the nutritional benefits and the availability of OFSP fresh roots and processed products.
The Technologies for African Transformation (TAAT) is a key priority of the African Development Bank’ for agricultural transformation agenda also known as the Feed Africa Strategy. TAAT is essentially a knowledge- and innovation-based response to the recognized need for scaling up proven technologies across Africa aiming to boost productivity, and to make Africa self-sufficient in key commodities.
MEDIA STORIES ON TAAT PROJECT LAUNCH