New Project Helps Rwanda to Privatize its Fertilizer Sector

December 14, 2010 – KIGALI, Rwanda, and MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The Rwandan government has enlisted IFDC’s assistance to support the private sector’s increased involvement in the fertilizer industry. The government wants the private sector to eventually take over the responsibility of fertilizer importation, distribution and sale to farmers. The Privatization of Rwanda’s Fertilizer Import and Distribution System (PReFER) is a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project implemented by IFDC.

The government of Rwanda and IFDC have been working to build private sector capacity through fertilizer auctions and the development of an agro-dealer network across the nation. At the same time, a voucher program was developed to increase farmers’ awareness of the affordability and benefits of proper fertilizer use. The government believes that strengthening these two programs by overlaying them with PReFER training and support will strengthen the private sector’s capacity to take over responsibility for fertilizer procurement and distribution from the government.

Agriculture represents 32 percent of Rwanda’s gross domestic product and employs 80 percent of its workforce. Therefore, the performance of its agriculture sector has a powerful impact on the country’s overall economy.

Increased use of both organic and inorganic fertilizer and other inputs is necessary to generate higher crop yields and to attain food security in Rwanda. However, the use of fertilizer to increase crop yields is in an early stage of development.

“USAID and IFDC will provide technical and business assistance through PReFER training programs to develop and professionalize fertilizer importers, distributors and retailers in Rwanda. PReFER also will support the government in creating a favorable environment to encourage private investment in the sector,” according to Martin Drevon, PReFER chief of party. Drevon was previously the business development manager in Africa for the fertilizer company Yara and has over 12 years of experience working on the continent.

IFDC identifies policies that support the private sector’s involvement in the fertilizer market and contributes to the development of a sustainable supply system. This effort is expected to stimulate fertilizer demand and will support the project’s objectives through agricultural intensification and market development of farm output.

A core project activity is the development of a Fertilizer Business Incubation Center (FBIC), which will offer business support to emerging private sector entrepreneurs involved in fertilizer supply. The FBIC will also provide policy advice to the Rwandan government and serve as a one-stop resource center for all fertilizer sector stakeholders.

PReFER is a five year project (2010-2015) that will work very closely with other IFDC initiatives in Rwanda. The project will partner with the Rwanda Agro-Dealer Development (RADD) project, which is funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; the European Union-funded COMESA Regional Agro-Inputs Program (COMRAP); and the CATALIST and SEW projects, which are funded by the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation.

IFDC is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments.

IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.

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IFDC Contacts:
Courtney Greene
cgreene@ifdc.org
+1 256-381-6600 ext. 357

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