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Empowering Agricultural Innovation: Insights from the Potato Roundtable

03-06-2024

On Thursday, May 30th, the Service Training and Innovation Centers (STICs) hosted a highly anticipated Potato Roundtable event, bringing together key stakeholders from academia, government, and the private sector. The event, held at the University of Rwanda facility, aimed to foster collaboration and innovation within Rwanda’s agricultural sector, with a particular focus on the potato value chain.

About STICs
The STICs, developed through a collaborative effort involving horticulture, poultry, dairy, agro-tourism, and potato sectors, represent Rwanda’s pioneering initiative to enhance partnerships between academia, government, and industry. Supported by the Nuffic  TMT+ grant, Maastricht School of Management (MSM) and Rwanda Polytechnic (RP) are committed to further strengthening the STIC framework. This project focuses on three primary objectives:

  1. Strengthening the capacity of STIC management teams
  2. Elevating STICs into dynamic, innovative platforms fostering continuous collaboration among entrepreneurs, researchers, and students to address real-world agricultural challenges through applied research.
  3. Enhancing community knowledge and skills through targeted outreach activities: Ultimately, the STIC initiative aims to bolster food security, improve nutrition, and increase resilience to environmental and economic shifts through sustainable public-private partnerships (PPPs) and practical research applications.

The Potato Roundtable Event
The roundtable was designed to address the challenges and opportunities within the potato sector, targeting a diverse audience that included academics, industry experts, researchers, and students. The event’s primary goal was to facilitate a comprehensive dialogue on enhancing the potato value chain, leveraging the expertise and insights from various stakeholders.

The general objective of the roundtable was to develop key parts of the 3-year sustainability plan for the potato value chain. More specifically, the roundtable focused on:

  • Identification of Value Chain Actors: Recognizing and mapping the key players involved in the potato value chain to understand their roles and contributions.
  • Recognizing Gaps and Opportunities: Highlighting the gaps and key opportunities currently existing within Rwanda’s potato value chain.
  • Prioritization of Interventions: Identifying key priority areas for intervention, prioritizing them, and determining the order of interventions needed to overcome existing challenges.
  • Defining Roles: Clarifying and distributing roles among different actors in the potato value chain to ensure a dynamic and sustainable industry.

The discussions included representatives from public academic institutions such as the University of Rwanda and Rwanda Polytechnic, alongside government institutions, trade associations, private companies, banks, and research institutions. The dialogue centered on leveraging interdisciplinary efforts to expand value chain opportunities and tackle challenges collaboratively.

Conclusion & Key Learnings
A key takeaway from the event was the importance of collaboration across industries and interests to foster innovation and development. The roundtable underscored the necessity of working together to achieve a dynamic and sustainable potato industry in Rwanda.

The Potato Roundtable event exemplified the mission of STICs to act as a bridge between research and practical application, driving forward Rwanda’s agricultural sector through innovation, collaboration, and community engagement. As we move ahead, the insights and connections forged during this event will aim to contribute to a more resilient and collaborative potato industry in Rwanda.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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