Rwanda: The EU and its Member States must ensure farmers’ substantial and independent participation in the design and implementation of agricultural policy


Press Release



In its latest policy brief “No intensification without participation: European donors must ensure the effective participation of Rwandan farmers in the elaboration of agricultural policy” released today, the European Network for Central Africa (EurAc) calls on the European Union (EU) and Rwanda’s European development donors to use their policy dialogue with Rwandan policy and decision-makers to ensure the effective participation of Rwandan civil society in the design and implementation of agricultural policies.

The EU delegation to Kigali just launched a 900 million Rwf project aimed at enhancing farmers' participation in the formulation of agricultural policy. This is a welcome development, and one that EurAc has advocated for in the past. The EU is the main donor supporting the Government of Rwanda’s agricultural strategy, an ambitious plan of agricultural modernisation that aims at raising agricultural productivity and income. However, previous donor-supported agricultural initiatives in Rwanda have substantially bypassed farmers’ voices and adopted a top-down approach. Critical voices from inside and outside Rwanda have highlighted that farmers’ participation in agricultural modernisation policies has often been purely formal. At times, local authorities have coerced farmers into compliance with the policies.  Such an approach has often resulted in negative consequences for farmers on the ground, whose knowledge and potential for innovation are consistently overlooked. This not only makes it impossible for rural civil society to make its voice heard, but it also endangers the strategic goal of increasing agricultural output.

It is fundamental that both donors and Rwandan civil society make sure that farmers’ participation does not remain a mere buzzword.” said Giuseppe Cioffo, Programme and Policy Officer at EurAc “Rwandan farmers have a right to decide what, and how, they choose to produce. Farmers’ knowledge and practices can foster productivity, food security and environmental stewardship. Donors must ensure that their support to rural civil society organisations will enable them to make independent, informed and substantial contributions to the formulation of agricultural policies.



For media request and/or more information please contact:

Julie Capoulade - Communications & Advocacy Officer - EurAc

Office: +32 2 725 47 70 // Mobile: +32 499 81 01 77 //