RWA Country Report 2021 Blog Post

The 2021 TASAI Rwanda Country Report summarizes the findings of the TASAI study conducted in Rwanda in 2021 by the TASAI team and local seed industry experts. The results highlight several positive developments since the last TASAI study in 2018. Evidence from this report suggests that Rwanda’s formal seed sector is still in the early growth stage of development. However, Rwanda’s shift towards privatization reflects a promising value chain for improved seed. With the government’s continued efforts to encourage private seed companies to take the lead in seed production and marketing, Rwanda’s seed market is expected to become more competitive – nationally and regionally.  

Regarding seed sector research and development in Rwanda, the average age of some varieties in the country is high. These varieties need to be replaced with newer, locally adapted varieties. All variety development work was carried out by public research institutes. The absence of private breeders indicates that most local seed companies are in their emergent stages. Under industry competitiveness, the government’s transition away from seed production and marketing has improved levels of competition in Rwanda’s seed sector. Rwanda’s private sector-led seed system has contributed to an overall increase in the number of seed companies in the industry.  

The seed policy environment in Rwanda aims to shift the production and distribution of certified seed from the government to the private sector. Most seed policy instruments have been enacted and are harmonized with seed trade regulations of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Furthermore, the creation of the Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA) and the separation of the variety development and certification mandates from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) illustrate that the government is willing to foster an enabling seed business environment. However, RICA should strengthen the inspection capacity, speed-up the gazetting of the national seed catalogue, and fast-track compliance of the national seed testing laboratory to the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) standards to obtain accreditation. Moreover, Rwanda’s Crop Intensification Program (CIP) and seed procurement process were both rated excellent in 2020. Rwanda’s landscape of institutional support for smallholder farmers has improved, particularly through those services offered by the National Seed Association of Rwanda. However, seed companies could benefit more from updated trainings on quality seed production and enhanced seed inspection services. 

Finally, services to smallholder farmers are at a satisfactory level. Rwanda’s seed sector has an adequate number of extension agents at all levels of both central and local administration, giving it the lowest ratio of extension officers to agricultural households out of all the African countries whose seed sectors have been studied by TASAI. Evidence from this report also suggests that the recent increase in the number of trained and registered agro-dealers will further strengthen Rwanda’s seed distribution system.   

The report was published following a successful dissemination meeting in Kigali, Rwanda on December 7, 2021, where the findings were validated and discussed by members of Rwanda’s public and private seed sectors.