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Creating the Future of Maize Value Chain in Rwanda: Challenges and Opportunities

The CREATE Rwanda project is being funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Heineken International and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to increase maize productivity, establish linkages from farmers, to processors, and the Heineken Group. The overall rationale for this is to strengthen and improve maize value chain. Several successes have been recorded since then the inception of the CREATE Rwanda Project in 2014. Prominent among these include: increased number of cooperatives from 20 to 50, and the number of participating households from 3,256 to 15,598. Furthemore, the volume of maize sold has increased from 693 tonnes in 2015 to 4,718 tonnes in 2018, substantial increment in the cultivated area and improvement in maize productivity from less than 2 MT/ha to an average of 3 MT/ha. The expansion of activities is done partly in collaboration with Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI), a local NGO supported by the World Food Programme under its Farm to Market Alliance Programme. In addition, CREATE Rwanda has offered a series of training on improved agronomic practices and a plethora of capacity building activities. However, after the completion of the first year of the project, several other challenges that could affect the sustainability of the value chain were identified. The key areas identified were: cooperative business skills development, resilience to drought and improved practices to reduce post-harvest losses. To this effect, led to a collaboration between the CREATE project and IFC, started in 2015 with an expanded scope to include: enhancing the leadership and management of cooperative; improving climate resilience with the introduction of small-scale irrigation technologies; and initiating contacts to assist cooperatives to gain access to finance.