Parliamentarians have raised concern over delays to fully operationalise a horticulture centre of excellence at the Mulindi Agriculture Show Ground in Gasabo district, almost five years after the launch of the Rwf2.2 billion project.
The horticulture centre of excellence, which is a joint project between Rwanda and Israel, was launched in 2014 and started its operations in 2016. It aims to promote advanced horticulture methods for both smallholder and commercial farmers.
“The project was on a three-year run and the period has elapsed without any take off on the ground, which simply means that it is a failed project,” said Eugene Barikana, a member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment, during their recent visit to the centre.
The centre seeks to showcase a wide range of technologies for horticulture productions, and make them available for research and development, trainings and exhibitions. Under the programme design, the centre was expected to start training and building the capacity of farmers and agriculture technicians by July 2017.
Designed and sponsored by the Centre for International Agricultural Development Co-operation, under Israel’s Agency for International Development Co-operation, the project continues to be funded by taxe payers’ money despite being unproductive, with the delay blamed on lack of co-ordination among government officials.
Currently, the country spends about Rwf5.5 billion annually on seed imports of hybrid maize, wheat and soybean, while locally-produced seeds are not meeting demand.