CGIAR’s National Policies and Strategies initiative is contributing to the development of an evidence-based livestock strategy in Rwanda

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    Madeline Wong
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The collaboration between research and policymaking must be a two-way street. Effective policy needs to be evidence-based and data-driven. At the same time, impactful research must be dynamic and relevant to address the ever-changing country context. 

The Republic of Rwanda is in the process of developing their six-year strategic plan for agricultural transformation (PSTA5) aimed to boost food security, nutrition and international exports for the country. To support the policymaking process, the CGIAR initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS), Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) organised the ‘Capacity-building on Livestock Sector Investment and Policy Toolkit (LSIPT) and the application of system dynamics in value chain analysis’ workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. 

From 18-20 December 2023, professionals, policymakers and practitioners gained holistic training on modelling and simulating value chain behaviours for more informed decision-making. Participants were empowered with quantitative skills through step-by-step instruction on the Livestock Sector Investment and Policy Toolkit (LSIPT) and qualitative skills through value chain prioritisation and mapping exercises. 

CGIAR’s National Policies and Strategies initiative in Rwanda 

This workshop comes at right time because the Ministry is busy developing its livestock strategy, which will feed into the entire sector strategy, PSTA5. This workshop will help us to assess different trajectories in order to know the baseline and make projections into the future.

Jean Claude Ndorimana, Director General of Animal Resources Development at MINAGRI 

This NPS workshop builds upon previous CGIAR collaborations with MINAGRI in Rwanda. The livestock strategy in development is replacing and pulling from the previous Rwanda Livestock Master Plan that was supported by ILRI. Furthermore, IFPRI Rwanda has been asked to provide technical guidance for PSTA5 and will incorporate ILRI’s inputs from PST5’s earlier drafts. 

Joseph Karugia, principal scientist at ILRI and focal point for NPS, shared how this training aligns with NPS’ objective to improve livelihoods by strengthening capacity to help countries address current policy demand and future development needs. For PSTA5, the Ministry has raised livestock development as one of the priorities. Therefore, this workshop addressed two out of the three NPS activities, integrating policy tools and responding to policy demand. 

LSIPT training and value chain prioritisation and mapping 

When asked why livestock is one of PSTA5’s main focuses, DG Ndorimana explained that out of the 25% that agriculture contributed to the national GDP, livestock contributed 12%. He also acknowledged that the livestock sector is key to increasing employment, exports and the consumption of animal-sourced protein to meet nutrition goals. 

First, the workshop empowered participants to support PSTA5 development through performing impact assessments using LSIPT. Emerged from a collaboration between the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and ILRI, LSIPT is a powerful resource that enables comprehensive analysis of the crucial processes within livestock production systems for decision-making and policy design. Participants were empowered to become Trainers of Trainers (TOTs), proficient in using LSIPT to further build capacity within their own institutions.  

Second, at their request, participants were led through value chain prioritisation and mapping exercises that highlighted the gaps and opportunities within Rwanda’s livestock value chains – beef, dairy, poultry, small ruminants and fish. During prioritisation, participants ranked value chains based on criteria covering economic, social, cultural and equity dimensions, revealing which value chains investments would have the greatest impact. Value chain mapping allowed participants to show a more complete picture of the value chain from input suppliers to consumers and highlight key issues of the value chain and where they envision the potential for transformation. In addition to naming key value chain stakeholders, they were also able to highlight other issues that are often left out in quantitative analysis such as governance issues, power dynamics and sociocultural implications. 

DG Ndorimana reviewing fish value chain map at the ‘Capacity-building on Livestock Sector Investment and Policy Toolkit (LSIPT) and the application of system dynamics in value chain analysis’ workshop in Kigali, Rwanda (ILRI / Madeline Wong).

Christine Kanyandekwe, division manager of the National Animal Genetic Improvement Center at the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Development Board (RAB), shared her main takeaways from this workshop: 

This workshop was very important to me. It’s my first time having this type of training. When we develop projects, we have the technical and financial part. I need to have knowledge about value chain, investment and policy analysis to be able to analyse the two components of my projects.

Looking ahead 

The skills gained from LSIPT training and value chain prioritisation and mapping exercises will strengthen the analytical performance of Rwanda’s institutions like MINAGRI and its implementing agency, the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Development Board (RAB). Using innovative approaches, like the user-friendly LSIPT, the NPS initiative is building on the foundation for more effective policy responses in Rwanda. 

In his closing remarks, James Warner, program leader of the Rwanda Strategy and Support Program at IFPRI, reiterated CGIAR’s commitment to collaborating with country institutions to respond to policy demand and promote evidence-based decision-making: 

Livestock is an important part of IFPRI Rwanda’s commitment to agricultural intensification and modernisation, particularly as it relates to PSTA5. I’m happy to point out that ILRI is a globally recognised leader in livestock research and policy formulation and both of us are in the CGIAR research network. Our contributions to policies for sustainable growth in Rwanda are supported with a specific emphasis on detailed analysis, capacity development and collaborative partnership.

Building on this workshop, IFPRI Rwanda is leading several upcoming events in the new year: 

  • An exercise on the effects of climate change on the agricultural sector, believed to be the first designed to identify the potential effects on the sector in Rwanda 
  • More IFPRI led learning events include workshops on e-Soko, Stata mapping, spatial analysis and data visualisation techniques 
  • Four thematic presentations on Rwanda smallholder commercialization derived from data collected by IFPRI in late 2022 that include farm typologies (which includes livestock holdings), crop commercialisation, farm profitability and commercialisation and access to nutritious foods 

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