Feeder roads are very important to farming communities in rural areas as they provide access to transportation to farmers and enable them to acquire inputs for their business and to move their produces from farms sites to transformation and marketing centres.
Experience has shown that more often than not improving rural feeder road networks is an important priority for rural communities and their representatives at district level. A poor road network often has an adverse effect on the livelihood security of the rural population because it leads to problems of access, especially during the rainy season.
This, in turn, causes a decrease in agricultural production because it reduces availability of and access to inputs, markets for produce, health care, and educational facilities. This inevitably leads to isolation and a lack of incentives for local communities to prosper by expanding production, diversifying their farming, developing enterprises, or adopting new methods and techniques. Following Government of Rwanda (GoR) priorities and policies, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) has, through the Rwandan NGO Helpage, invested heavily in the rehabilitation and maintenance of feeder roads in Rwanda since 2002.
Helpage has played a major role in the implementation of various programmes aiming, amongst others, at improved farm accessibility through feeder road maintenance and rehabilitation. Recent evaluations and social return of investment studies have clearly indicated that the investments in feeder road maintenance and rehabilitation yield positive results: agricultural production and farmer income increase as accessibility to treatment centres and markets improve.
Studies indicate that the benefits that could be attributed to the road rehabilitation are such that the investment could be paid back in two years. Since 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) is responsible for the coordination of all activities with regards to feeder road rehabilitation and maintenance. This programme proposes a MINAGRI-lead follow-up of the feeder road rehabilitation and maintenance programmes that EKN has undertaken since 2002 with Helpage. The programme proposed will build upon lessons learned during their implementation and will focus on the transfer of capacities and responsibilities to district level authorities.
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