We’re becoming one big East Africa team!

We’re becoming one big East Africa team!

in News

We’re becoming one big East Africa team!

Working closer together for better and stronger programmes

During the week of 28 March 2022, Rikolto colleagues from Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) met in Kigali to kick off the integration process of their activities into one big Rikolto in East-Africa team. This integration process also coincides with DRC officially joining the East African Community (EAC), which shows us that working closely together is the right choice for the future.

Rikolto focusses its work on three thematic programmes: Sustainable Rice, Food Smart Cities, and Sustainable Cocoa & Coffee. By merging the teams in Tanzania, Uganda and DRC, we can better integrate regional dynamics in our Rikolto programmes. Congolese coffee and cocoa are traded via Uganda and Rwanda for export, Congolese cities like Goma and Bukavu get many of their fresh fruits and vegetables from Rwanda, and the rice trade between Tanzania and Uganda as well as DRC is increasing. The integration into one big East Africa team therefore means that we are better positioned to strengthen those food systems across borders.

Becoming one big Rikolto in East Africa team not only means integrating our existing teams and activities, but also expanding our programmes to an additional country. We're happy to announce that Rwanda will become the fourth country where Rikolto works within East Africa. In Rwanda, we work closely together with two partners, Kilimo Trust and ADECOR (Association des Consommateurs Rwandais - Rwanda Consumer's Rights Protection Organization), for a Food Smart City programme in Rubavu. This programme aims to improve the horticulture production in western Rwanda, where a large proportion Rwanda’s horticulture produce is cultivated.

We first and foremost want to make the horticulture production more sustainable, specifically by promoting regenerative agriculture and supporting the professionalisation of farmer groups. Secondly, the programme wants to strengthen the trade of high-nutritious fruit and vegetables to cities, with specific attention for the role of women’s organisations in cross-border trade to Goma in DRC. This will be linked to the Food Smart City programme in Goma. Thirdly, in partnership with the Rwandan consumer organisation ADECOR, we will support initiatives that create a better enabling environment for food safety and the fight against malnutrition on national and city level.

Finally, we also want to encourage the participation of youth in our Food Smart City programme in Rubavu. For this, we will work closely together with Kilimo Trust, who are currently implementing the R-YES programme in partnership with IFAD. R-YES has identified 79 young entrepreneurs in Rubavu who will receive an in-depth training around agriculture, entrepreneurship and essential skills. We are hoping to include these youths in our Food Smart City Rubavu programme.