The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has said that it will partner in mobilizing funds to finance women traders in horticulture who have been affected by Covid-19.
Jean-Chrisostome Ngabitsinze, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that a study carried out in June and August this year found that urban women in horticulture were severely affected by Covid-19 and therefore need support to recover.
“After the study, we are going to mobilize financial resources to support the women. One of the major issues is the incurred losses as vegetables and fruits rot away due to lack of proper storage, handling and cooling facilities,” he said..
Sandrine Irakoze, a vendor in Nyabugogo market, told The New Times that the reduced number of clients and limited working hours during the lockdown has drastically triggered huge losses.
“The fruits rot away due to lack of clients. I used to sell 30 Kilogrammes of fruits in one day but the same quantity can even take a whole week which really damages their quality. We do not have facilities that can help store the fruits for a long time without damaging them and this is where we need funding,” she said.
The issues were compiled in a study dubbed “Assessment of Factors Affecting Urban Women Horticultural Traders (Uwhts) to stimulate the Horticultural Value Chain Development in Rwanda which is produced in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
According to the study carried out on 446 urban women traders in horticulture in the main markets in the City of Kigali, Rwamagana and Rubavu districts, the main challenges include Covid-19 consequences, limited access to storage facilities, limited access to business financing, commodities damaged, high cost of market space, cost of taxation, limited business skills and insufficient capital.
The challenges also include low market prices, transport costs, cost of taxation among others.
Rwanda exported 31,788 tonnes of horticulture commodities (vegetables, fruits and flowers) which generated $28.7 million (about Rwf27 billion) during the fiscal year 2019/20 according to figures from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).