Switch to electric tractor gains traction in Rwanda

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The wheels are turning in Rwanda to accelerate its farming to new eco-friendly heights with the introduction of an electric tractor developed with Volkswagen in the landlocked African country.

Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) said a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the tractor with the German automotive giant would contribute to boosting agriculture mechanisation and reducing carbon emissions for environmental protection purposes.

It is to be introduced in a sustainable CO2-free hub called GenFarm and will endeavour to establish a modern farm using electric tractors in Bugesera by next year.

The project’s objective is to create carbon-neutral (reduced carbon emissions through climate action) business opportunities and promote sustainable socio-economic impact on the community.

The MoU was signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ildephonse Musafiri, while Volkswagen was represented by Martina Biene, chairperson and managing director of Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA)

“The project will provide farmers with access to VW electric tractors as part of an effort to establish a holistic ecosystem of e-powered mechanised farming services,” Rwanda’s Presidency stated.

According to Minagri’s Annual Report 2021-2022, the fourth strategic plan for agriculture transformation (PSTA-4), from 2017 through 2024, emphasises the promotion and dissemination of adapted mechanised technologies to boost farm yield and production by minimising the harvest- and post-harvest losses, while saving human and capital investment in farm operations.

In collaboration with different stakeholders, the report showed, mechanised land increased by 13.7% from more than 62 200 hectares in 2020/2021 to 70 740 hectares in 2021/2022. The achievement of mechanised farm operations reached 36% in 2021/2022, while the target is 50% by 2023/2024.

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