The AgriBusiness Forum 2013 was officially opened by Prime Minister of Rwanda, the Honorable Pierre Habumuremyi, on Monday 7th October 2013, who highlighted the significance of the pan-African forum for the future of the entire region’s agricultural sector.
“Rwanda is immensely proud to host this pan-African event. The issues facing the agricultural sector must be tackled and this sector must be at the forefront of ensuring jobs and food for communities across the region,” he announced, reinforcing the title of this year’s forum, “The Agri-Food sector: A Catalyst for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Africa”. This year’s forum is co-organized by EMRC and Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources.
Alongside him, EMRC’s President, Pierre Mathijsen, told the audience that Africa’s potential was enormous and that the continent should focus on reducing the imports of food and focus on becoming a food exporter to the world. Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources, Agnes Kalibata, and Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, then took their turn to address the 400 plus participants attending the four-day forum.
Kalibata focused on the need to include private sector initiatives to empower the country’s farming communities and recognized the need for public – private partnerships across the board. Adesina addressed the crowd with an impressive speech – spotlighting his Ministry’s drive to diversify from oil dependency and highlighting the success of the country’s renewed focus on agriculture.
This opening session was then followed by plenary sessions and workshops focusing on sustainability and inclusivity in the Agri-Food chain. In addition, the EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award finalists presented their projects with a lot of anticipation from participants. This year’s presenters were Bukola Adeshin representing A & Shine International – Nigeria, Cathy Mbuyi Tshiswaka representing OptiFood Production – DRC, Jean Claude Ruzibiza owner of Rwanda Best – Rwanda and Peace Byandusya from the Mushroom Training and Resource Centre – Uganda.
This year’s forum is taking place in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Org. (FAO), Rabobank Foundation and the Rwanda Development Board in addition to the likes of LR Group, Balton Group, Banque Populaire du Rwanda, UniBrain, FARA, BTC Rwanda, FPI, ProCad, Osun State, USAID, IFDC, Bralirwa, Minimex, PSF, CooPac, I&M Bank, NaeB and Rwanda Mountain Tea and with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the forum’s Knowledge Partner and the African Business Roundtable (ABR) as Networking Partner.
For more information about the forum, please visit www.emrc.be