Last week, a group of government officials and private sector delegates from Rwanda visited the Netherlands to find support in the development of a national strategy for management of pest control products. The aim of the visit was to benchmark the current Rwandan system and practices related to sustainable pest control products management to Dutch, European and international practices. The initiative was coordinated by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and is closely linked to the HortInvest project, a horticultural value chain programme in north-western Rwanda, funded by Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda.
The Rwandan law governing agrochemicals was enacted in September 2012. Currently, Rwanda is in the process of restructuring the system for registration, inspection and control of pest control products and is reorganizing the regulatory bodies and enforcement agencies. At the same time the East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organization composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) are in the process of discussing the harmonization of the registration and risk management of pest control products within the EAC.
Support & capacity strengthening
Following a workshop conducted by WUR in Kigali on sustainable management of pest control products (September 2017), and a first assessment of the administration and management system of pest control products in Rwanda as part of the inception phase of the HortInvest project (April 2018), the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda (MINAGRI) expressed that support and capacity strengthening for pest control products management should be directed towards the aims and ambitions laid down in a national strategy for management of pest control products. Such a strategy is currently not in place and MINAGRI requested the Netherlands for support in its development.
Benchmark the Rwandan system
As a first step in the process towards the development of a national strategy, an exposure visit to the Netherlands was organized with the aim of benchmarking the Rwandan system and practices related to sustainable pest control products management to Dutch, European and international practices and to introduce the delegation to the Dutch registration and post-registration system and practices. Another important aim was to visit and interact with Dutch private sector companies, public authorities, research institutes and other relevant authorities and institutes. At the same time Rwanda's vision, ambitions and objectives for a national strategy for sustainable management of pest control products were explored.
From Rwanda, representatives from relevant public (MINAGRI, RALIS, RAB, NAEB, RSB, REMA) and private (RAIDA, PSF, ADECOR) sectors participated in the visit.
The exposure visit enabled the relevant Rwandan stakeholders to learn from and share experiences on all aspects of pest control products management, which resulted in a first benchmark exercise to identify potential improvements to the system in Rwanda.
Charles Murekezi, Director General of Agriculture Development, remarked that Rwanda and the Netherlands show many similarities with regard to the agricultural sector, from which Rwanda can draw lessons. In particular in that respect he highlighted the results achieved by the Netherlands as a small nation to become a world leader in the area of agriculture and the intended ambitions of Rwanda for transformation towards a productive, sustainable and market driven sector.
As a follow-up it was decided to first conduct a more in-depth assessment of the Rwandan registration and post-registration system for pest control products in the coming period, as well as to set up further collaboration between Rwanda and the Netherlands for the development of the national strategy and corresponding capacity strengthening support for management of pest control products in Rwanda.