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What we do

Improving production and supplies for domestic and regional markets

The HortInvest project has an objective of contributing to the growth of the horticulture sector by sustaining production and productivity improvements, especially among primary producers; promoting value addition of the horticultural produce destined to domestic, regional and export markets so that the value per unit of product brought to market is markedly increased; and, raising  the  export  earnings  through  increasing  horticultural  sales  value  (not necessarily volumes) at markets within DR Congo, the East African Community and international high value markets.

The implementation of the above will result in an increase of the net income of farmers and other actors who are involved in the horticulture value chain.  The increased production will sustain employment in the targeted six districts, especially among rural women and youth; and, within small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in input supplies, value addition/processing, marketing and other supporting services.
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Enhancing food and nutrition security for poor households in the project focus area

Food and nutrition security are a focus of the HortInvest project. They are interconnected to the first component of the project above. The assumption of the project is built on a belief that:

1) awareness on nutrition and production knowledge will lead  to  nutritious  diets  sourced  from  home  gardens;

2) awareness for those with increased income and improved availability of fruit and vegetables in the local market will result in buying more nutritious food.

  In line of this, the project focuses on activities such as community mobilization as a way of ‘triggering’ the integration of nutrition education sessions in:

  • kitchen garden demonstration plots,
  • cooking demonstration sessions and
  • cooperative meetings.

Messages were developed and highlight the importance of consuming healthy, diverse diets, and that of consuming fruit and vegetables, especially Vitamin A and iron rich varieties for women under reproductive age. They are delivered by trained CHWs, volunteer Nutrition Action Groups (NAGs) established in community and agriculture extension workers.

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Developing horticulture exports

The HortInvest project aligns with the national agriculture policies, especially the National Horticulture Policy, and focuses on developing the horticulture exports value chain. To achieve this, several activities have been undertaken. The project set up an investment and innovation fund (IIF) with 5 million euros to co-invest in private companies and cooperatives involved in horticulture exports.

The objective of the project is to raise exports value to 15.5 million euros by the end of the project. Supported companies and cooperatives have an aspect of capacity building for local farmers especially on good agricultural practices to improve the production of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, IIF supported companies work closely with HortInvest supported cooperatives to source their horticulture produce.

The project support local exporters and organizes one-on-one trade fairs and forums to strengthen their relationship with buyers; and, identifies key and strategic international platforms that have a potential to attract new buyers to Rwanda. New buyers are invited to visit production sites in order to witness crops quality and increase their interest in buying Rwandan products from specific exporters.

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Creating an enabling environment for horticulture development

The HortInvest project promotes an environment where all engaged actors in the sector are connected in a defined ecosystem of a functioning market system. Under the enabling environment thematic area, the project triggers a dialogues between private and public actors; examine and supports policies and bylaws that promotes horticulture in Rwanda; establish relevant structures especially at district level to oversee and implement horticulture-related matters; fosters cross-cutting themes of youth and gender in the project; and, promotes sustainable and climate resilient horticultural production practices at all levels.

The objective is to have a functioning market system where public systems are strengthened; back up and promotes private actors to have an environment where the horticulture needs are met in an equal and inclusion manner.

Activities under this component include, but are not limited to, supporting the development of a national strategy for management of pest control products in Rwanda; establishing Horticulture district working groups at district level (piloted in Karongi and Rubavu districts); supporting Rwanda horticulture working group platform secretariat; and, organizing business-to-business events where farmer cooperatives are linked to buyers and input suppliers.

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The HortInvest Project works with 100 cooperatives in the six districts of its operational area: Muhanga, Ngororero, Karongi, Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Rubavu.