POLICY DIALOGUE ON IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON THE HORTICULTURE VALUE CHAIN AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY IN RWANDA
Venue : Virtually through MS Teams
Date : 02/10/2020
Every three months the EPRN organises a national policy dialogue in Rwanda. The overall aim of this specific policy dialogue is for Oxfam and EPRN to collaborate putting across key report findings and recommendations from the survey on the impact of COVID 19 on the horticulture value chain, to key stakeholders for action/implementation. The purpose of disseminating the Oxfam survey report is to influence recovery plans first, for Oxfam and secondly, for all actors including government agencies, peer organizations and implementing partners. The policy dialogue will involve multiple stakeholders including NAEB, MINAGRIC, MINECOFIN, Private Sector and CSO. Invitation will be sent to policy makers and media houses who will be engaged using a press release and a policy brief. Oxfam will present the report findings and recommendations. EPRN will facilitate discussions at the policy dialogue, thereafter, complete together with Oxfam policy brief will be sent to targeted audience for the relevant departments/stakeholders for policy influencing and to translate the recommendations to action.
Rwandan horticulture sector plays a crucial role in the country’s economy and it contributes about 50% of non-traditional export revenues and provides income to hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers (RDB, 2016 ; MINAGRI, 2018 ; NAEB, 2019). Fruits and vegetables are produced on small plots of land and by small farm households and small and medium enterprises. For instance, fruits and vegetables covered an estimated 1.18% and 0.47% of the aggregate land occupied by all crops in Season A 2020 compared to 1.14% and 0.63% and 6.0% of the previous Season A 2019 (NISR, 2018). However, the recent agricultural household survey 2017 revealed that the horticulture production at household levels was still critical as the proportion of vegetables and fruits producing households were down compared to other crops (3.1% and 0.5% in season A and 3.7% and 0.6% in season B of households respectively) (NISR, 2018).
The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Government of Rwanda in mobilizing the population in a decisive and effective public health response. Even so, a number of very serious economic challenges lie ahead as the global economy braces itself for a recession. Consequently, Rwanda faces intensifying demand and supply-side shocks both in the domestic and external sectors (IGC, 2020). COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts on countries’ economy and agriculture is among the affected sectors (FAO, 2020 ; Schmidhuber et al, 2020 ; WFP, 2020).
The recent research by OXFAM revealed that COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the movement of horticulture products and the flow of market information ; 94.6% of domestic market outlets for horticulture have experienced shortfalls in sales revenues due to COVID-19 prevention measures ; furthermore, access to market information was identified as a challenge for many agri-SMEs. In addition, many farmers and agri-SMES have no awareness of support options offered by the Government and some development partners to support farmers and small businesses in horticulture.
Horticulture jobs have declined : At farm level, manpower has reduced between 20 and 10% while horticulture SMEs have reduced the labour force up to 70% in April and May, and between 30% to 50% in June 2020. In that horrible situation ; farmers have adopted new behavior and coping mechanisms to survive whereby 59% sold other agriculture produce at lower prices ; 57% withdrawn their savings from banks/cooperatives ; 56% have skipped some meals ; 46.7% sold livestock ; 41% opted selling some properties at lower prices ; 21% borrowed money from VSLAs and 2.3% borrowed money from financial institutions. It is worth noting that these coping mechanisms would pull back farmers into poverty if adequate recovery measures are not put in place in real time.
The objective of this policy dialogue is to brainstorm on specific impacts of COVID-19 on horticulture sub sector, exchange on lessons learnt which should be adapted to local farmers, suppliers and exporters, and formulate policy recommendations and suggest a coordinated framework to facilitate businesses in the sub sector.
Specifically, this policy dialogue we ensure :
i Raise awareness through multilevel stakeholder engagement on the Oxfam HVC study findings and recommendations for policy action and adaptation to mitigate negative impact of COCID-19 on all players in the HVC.
ii Update key actors on the status of HVC in the period of COVID-19 for consideration of specific needs of people directly affected by the pandemic, within the horticulture value chain. A policy brief will be produced, summarising discussions from the policy dialogue to share with key policy makers.
iii Generate commitment of policy makers by establishing the connection of the NRP and the HVC sector in a bid to address any subsector related gaps in the recovery plan.
iv Resulting policy influencing to address issues in the HVC sub sector.
This dialogue is jointly organized by EPRN and OXFAM.
EPRN : A Network of Researchers with a mission to contribute to the evidence based economic policy making by providing high quality research, building capacity and creating networking opportunities (www.eprnrwanda.org )
OXFAM : Is an international NGO with a mission to build lasting solutions to poverty and injustice with a focus on women’s rights (www.oxfam.org)
60 participants are expected to this Virtual Policy Dialogue. Expected participants include officials from public institutions, Private Sector, EPRN Members, Academicians, Development Partners, CSOs, INGOs and Media.
The public dialogue will start from 9am to 11h30am and shall be characterized by topic presentations, panel discussion and audience exchange (Q&As).
The session will be held virtually by use of MS Teams. EPRN will send an invitation link to all invitees.
|09:00-09:15||Welcome remarks||• Dr Charles Ruranga (EPRN Chairperson of Board of Directors)
• Ms Alice Uwase Anukur, Country Director, OXFAM in Rwanda
|09:15-09:35||Presentation on COVID-19 impacts on Horticulture||Consultant, OXFAM|
|09:35 -09:50||Unpacking the Rwanda Economic Recovery Plan, May 2020 – December 2021 and how it enables recovery for the HVC subsector||Chief Economist, MINECOFIN|
|10:15-11:00||Panel Discussion Moderator : OXFAM||
|11:20-11:30||Closing and key recommendations||•EPRN Secretariat (summarized recommendations)
•Remarks from Irish Aid
•Closing remarks by EU Representative
•Closing Remarks by the Guest of Honor (MINAGRI)