WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$60.9 million in funds from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help the Rwanda Government to upgrade road conditions and intensify farmers’ agricultural productivity as part of the strategy to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity throughout the country.
“The Rwandan Government has implemented several ambitious programs designed to improve and diversify the country’s agriculture sector as a key strategy to fight poverty,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “Today’s financing provides additional support to continue this success while helping to ensure food security, improve health, and reduce poverty for the country’s large rural population.”
The first US$45 million IDA credit supports the Feeder Roads Development Project (FRDP), designed to improve conditions on all-season roads that connect to major agricultural market centers. The funds will support road works for about 270 kilometers of feeder roads in four of the country’s districts, namely: Karongi (western province), Rwamagana (eastern province), Gisagara (southern province) and Nyamasheke (western province).
“Insufficient all-season road connectivity has contributed to very high transport costs and created difficulties for farmers seeking to improve their agricultural productivity and incomes,” said Tesfamichael Nahusenay Mitiku, World Bank Task Team Leader for the FRDP. “The Feeder Roads Development Project will help make transport easier, improve food security, and provide opportunities for the most vulnerable to lift themselves out of poverty.”
The FRDP is designed as an integral part of the agricultural support initiatives in Rwanda and will help farmers to transport key agricultural inputs, (like seeds or fertilizers), and move their crops and products to market. This project, coupled with the ongoing agriculture projects, is expected to directly benefit about 439,000 people total in the four areas, of which approximately 50 percent are female.
The second IDA credit of US$15.9 million provides additional financing for the Third Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP 3), which is also focused on activities that will increase and diversify agriculture productivity. These additional resources to the RSSP3, will contribute to the Government’s achievements of the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII) by boosting productivity for some of the country’s poorest farmers. The RSSP 3 will benefit some 101,500 rural residents, of which 42 percent are women, by 2018.
“Agriculture remains the backbone of Rwanda’s economy and the majority of households in the country are engaged in some sort of crop or livestock production activity,” said Valens Mwumvaneza, World Bank Task Team Leader for the RSSP 3. “I look forward to continuing efforts to enhance agriculture productivity, which is widely regarded as the major catalyst for growth and poverty reduction in Rwanda.”
Today’s RSSP3 extends and builds upon the results of RSSP 1 and 2, and will expand irrigation in cultivated marshlands, promote sustainable land management practices on hillsides, and rehabilitate and build infrastructure to support new agriculture-based products. The funds will also support capacity building for farmer organizations, cooperatives, and value chain development to support these results beyond the life of the project. Today’s approval also extends the project by 12 months to October 30, 2018 to ensure a smooth implementation of the additional resources.