RWANDA – Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have inaugurated the first training session of the PSTA 5 “Rwanda Agriculture and Food Systems – Policy Learning Programme” (PLP).

This transformative 10-month initiative aims to seamlessly integrate food system development into policies, actions, and investments, setting the stage for a resilient and sustainable agrifood future.

The PLP, an integral component of the 5th Rwanda Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA 5), will delve into six thematic areas over its 10-month duration.

These encompass Food Systems, Nutrition and Healthy Diet, Trade, Political Economy Approaches to Governance, Climate-Resilient Food Systems, and Public-Private Partnerships for Research and Innovation.

The program’s structure includes one-week sessions dedicated to each thematic area, facilitating in-depth exploration and skill development.

The collaborative effort involves the participation of the Institute for Innovation and Public Policy, University College of London, renowned for their expertise in innovative policy design using systems approaches.

The opening session, which concentrated on Food Systems, commenced on November 27 in Musanze, drawing insights from these experts to enrich the learning experience.

Dr. Chantal Ingabire, Director General of Planning for the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, highlighted the PLP’s overarching goal of shaping policies that create conducive conditions for impactful investments in agriculture and food systems.

Emphasizing a systemic approach, she stressed the need for innovative policymaking, governance, research, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and investments in agriculture and technologies.

The PLP assembles a diverse cohort of 30 senior and technical experts from various government departments, including MINAGRI, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Board (RAB), National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Ministries of Trade and Industries, Environment, Youth, Finances, and the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR).

The program aims to equip participants with skills in systems thinking, fostering improved policy development and governance arrangements.

Coumba Sow, FAO Country Representative in Rwanda, underscored the urgency of a paradigm shift, stating that traditional approaches to agriculture are no longer sufficient.

“This long week session on “Systems approach for food and agriculture in Rwanda”, an applied learning programme by FAO and UCL Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose will ensure the adequacy of the capacities of the policy makers and help public sector staff from various sectors better understand the concept of agriculture linked to food systems and complex challenges, and guidance on how the policies and strategies are developed in a way that facilitates the design, financing and implementation in a food system approach,” she said.

The collaboration should extend beyond conventional boundaries, involving sectors such as energy, health, family, youth, women, environment, local government, finances, statistics, academia, trade, and industries. This holistic approach is essential as Rwanda faces challenges ranging from climate change to food loss, malnutrition, and food insecurity.

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