Official Dialogue Feedback to the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit
Type of Dialogue
Language of Dialogue Event
Please review the details below for registration information if available or contact the Convenor if you would like to attend.
Transforming Rwandan food systems to become resilient to shocks is fundamental to realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda in the context of increasing climate-related shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic. Action Track 5 of the Food Systems Summit Dialogues will therefore work to ensure the continued functionality of sustainable food systems amidst natural disasters, economic shocks and pandemics and their recovery to a better-off state in the aftermath of shocks. The Rwanda Country Level Food Systems Dialogue will aim to facilitate the widespread engagement of multiple actors from different societies, stakeholders, and sectors in preparation for the Summit in September. Achieving this will require a three-pronged focus on:
- Economic Resilience: Being equitable and inclusive;
- Social Resilience: Producing broad-based benefits for all people for them to be able to recover effectively and efficiently from shocks; and
- Environmental Resilience: Generating positive and regenerative impacts on the natural environment.
The dialogue will open with remarks given by invited speakers- who will be selected from a broad pool of stakeholders including government, academia, the private sector and development partners- before attendees are split up into five breakout sessions.
Each breakout session will be asked to identify gaps and opportunities in Rwanda’s food system on one of the following topics: 1) strategic grain reserves, 2) East African trade, 3) the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), 4) early warning systems and 4) climate smart agriculture. During discussions, each group will consider policy, innovation, finance and inclusivity as cross-cutting issues from the perspective of key food system stakeholders: smallholder farmers, MSMEs, aggregators, financial service providers, agro-processors/retailers and consumers.
- To contribute to national efforts for sustainable food systems by 2030, providing participating stakeholders with a deeper understanding of their food systems and how they can be transformed.
- To create an opportunity for engagement and interconnection among a broad set of stakeholders, enhancing connectivity and relations among national food systems actors.
- During the Dialogues, participants that represent different stakeholder groups will work out how they intend to contribute to the sustainability of national food systems and, ideally, make commitments for which they are accountable.
- To engage participants to future endeavors for sustainable food systems, in line with their intentions and commitments, beyond the Summit.
Breakout sessions are at the core of the dialogues. Following the speaker presentations, dialogue participants will be split up into one of the five breakout-outs listed below while ensuring diverse stakeholder representation in each session. Discussions will be guided by facilitators while a note-taker gathers the groups comments and proposals to the break-out’s discussion topics and prompt questions to be compiled later.
- Strategic Grain Reserves
Decentralized grain reserves allow for the strategic release of food on local markets to stabilize prices and avoid temporary surges, thereby supporting the purchasing power of vulnerable consumers and enabling system continuity while fostering sustainable recovery from shocks. Pre-shock, the demand-side pull created by the institutional procurement can be leveraged to strengthen local value chains, improve farmer livelihoods and incentivize investments.
- What opportunities exist to ensure that decentralized strategic grain reserves (as stipulated in the Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation-PSTA4) enhance food security and community resilience? What pre-existing conditions are needed?
- How can strategic grain reserves be deployed to improve access to credit (by reducing risk and increasing the trust and transactions among value chain actors, allowing for reduced transaction costs, and longer-term contractual arrangements) for smallholder farmers?
- How can the demand-side pull created by the procurement for the decentralized reserves be leveraged to strengthen local value chains and improve farmer livelihoods?
- What opportunities exist to create a system of strategic market intelligence based on rigorous market monitoring to ensure the most effective use of emergency food reserves?
- Regional Trade
The Rwandan food system is strengthened by integration into East African trade that connects smallholder farms to reliable markets and distributes profits fairly across all actors along the value chain.
- How do we ensure that shocks do not aggravate the marginalization of vulnerable stakeholders, including smallholder farmers and MSMEs from markets and dependence on trade (import and export)? How should we take into consideration the informal trade and labor markets on the sector?
- How do we encourage inclusive economic recoveries from shocks, building on lessons learnt from COVID-19?
- What can be done to promote fair and transparent commercial transactions among the different players in national and regional trade? What are the most effective existing mechanisms to rely on?
- How can East African trade be leveraged to ensure that Rwanda smallholder farmers receive a share of profits that is commensurate to the value they add to the produce? Do favorable legal and economic frameworks exist?
iii. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS)
Crop insurance is a risk management tool which provides dependable support to smallholder farmers facing shocks across Rwanda while encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset and innovation. Insurance coverage during adverse years prevents households from resorting to negative coping that erodes the natural resource base and degrades ecosystems. Access to insurance Is an effective mechanism to de-risk food systems.
- How can insurance for smallholders be further promoted for greater community resilience to external shocks?
- Which are the main barriers smallholder farmers face for accessing agricultural insurance schemes and how can they be overcome?
- Early Warning Systems (EWS)
Smallholder farmers and other stakeholders along the food systems value chain receive timely warnings on shocks using better data and mobile technology.
- How do we leverage better data and mobile technology for early warning information and access to climate services?
- Who would be the most appropriate service providers and how do we incentivize them?
- Climate Smart Agriculture
Pervasive use of conservation agriculture, climate resistant crops and other forms of climate smart agriculture (CSA) boost Rwanda’s food systems resilience to natural disasters and environmental stresses caused by climate change.
- How can conservation agriculture (CA- or other climate smart agriculture (CSA) approaches) contribute to transforming the food system?
- How can it promote nutrition sensitive agriculture?
- How can we take advantage of native and climate resistant crops (nutritious, underutilized food)? Which are the existing ‘bottle necks’ and how can they be addressed
Crosscutting questions guiding all groups:
- Policy: Is the policy environment conducive to achieving system-wide resilience?
- Innovation: What innovations are needed? Is their sufficient investment in innovation? How can investments in innovation be made more effective? What are the identified gaps in innovation?
- Finance: What are the gaps in the financing landscape and how can they be addressed? What financial services/instruments (including insurance) can contribute to achieving resilience?
- Inclusivity: Are the needs of all actors within the value chain considered?