CCA signs deal to assist agricultural co-ops in Rwanda
The Canadian Co-operative Association has signed a major agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to support agricultural co-operatives in Rwanda. The project is expected to last for five years with a total budget of approximately $4.5 million. Of that, roughly $3.5 million will come from CIDA. Nearly $800,000 will be raised for the project by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada. The remainder will be contributed as volunteer labour.
In partnership with UGAMA (Centre de Services aux Co-opératives de Gitarama) and IWACU (Centre for Co-op Research and Training) CCA will assist 15 producer co-operatives to improve production, processing, storage and marketing. Among the larger initiatives planned are construction of rice and maize mills, storage facilities, and water management systems.
"We are delighted to have this agreement signed so that we can get to work on this initiative," said CCA's Senior Director of International Development, Jo-Anne Ferguson. "Food security is a critical issue in Rwanda. We are fortunate to have excellent partners in UGAMA and IWACU and we are keen to take on this challenge."
Rwanda is Africa's most densely-populated country, averaging more than 1,000 people per square kilometer. By contrast, Canada has an average of fewer than nine people per square kilometre. As well, Rwanda is a country dealing with significant poverty issues, with 56 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. There are constant challenges feeding the population from the available land, and co-operatives are an important part of Rwanda's food security strategy.