The inaugural Rwanda Transform Food Festival united food system leaders to collaborate on creating a healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable future for Rwanda’s food system, while celebrating the achievements of Fellows making significant contributions.
The much-anticipated Rwanda Transform Food Festival took place in Kigali on Friday, June 23, 2023, bringing together leaders from various sectors to discuss and collaborate on strategies for a healthier and more sustainable food system in the country. Hosted by the African Food Fellowship, the exclusive event witnessed the participation of food systems innovators, entrepreneurs, practitioners, and decision-makers from government, private sector, civil society, and community groups. The festival aimed to address both existing and emerging issues in Rwanda’s food systems and foster collaboration among stakeholders.
Dr. Olivier Kamana, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), commended the Rwanda Transform Food Festival for shedding light on critical issues in the agricultural sector. He acknowledged the expertise of the actors present and their potential contributions to the ongoing process of designing the Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA5). Dr. Kamana emphasized their importance as key stakeholders who can enhance the national strategy.
Throughout the day, participants engaged in discussions focused on sustainable land use, food tech and trade, and access to nutritious foods. The African Food Fellowship is actively working to empower leaders in Rwanda and shape the sectors through power dynamics, policies, incentives, and investments. This approach aims to drive the transformation of the country’s food systems. The festival also provided an opportunity to expand the conversation beyond the Fellowship, encouraging collaborations with other actors to accelerate the desired transformation.
Anysie Ishimwe, the Rwanda Dean and Country Implementation Lead, expressed the festival’s objectives, stating, “We really wanted these actors to come together and discuss issues that are emerging in Rwanda’s food system, and start thinking about how we can work together to solve them.” The festival also celebrated the achievements of the Fellows and their incredible efforts to transform Rwanda’s food system. The highlight of the event was the Rwanda Food Systems Leadership Award, which recognized Sylvie Nirere, a Food Tech & Trade Fellow, for her outstanding work in facilitating international market access for horticulture farmers, thus bolstering the country’s top exporters.
Claudia Piacenza, the African Food Fellowship Regional Manager, emphasized the significance of the Rwanda Transform Food Festival as an opportunity for Fellows to connect, collaborate, and tackle complex food system issues together. Piacenza highlighted the importance of the Fellows’ expertise and their ability to approach the food system from a comprehensive perspective. The festival played a vital role in fostering a sense of belonging among the Fellows and promoting collective action to address the challenges faced by Rwanda’s food systems.
Overall, the inaugural Rwanda Transform Food Festival successfully brought together key stakeholders from various sectors to engage in insightful discussions, collaborate on strategies, and recognize outstanding contributions to transforming the country’s food system. By fostering dialogue and encouraging collaboration, the festival aimed to pave the way for a more inclusive, sustainable, and nutritious future for Rwanda.