Despite the relatively small geographical area of Rwanda, many smallholder farmers cannot access commercial markets because they are simply ’invisible’ to them. Quality requirements of big processors are not well understood by farmers, especially in relation to aflatoxin levels in maize, which is due to a limited understanding of basic post-harvest handling and storage practices. Farmer organizations in Rwanda are offered innovative financing solutions, ranging from participation savings groups to loans from micro-financing institutions to loans from commercial banks. These groups within the cooperative structure help the capitalization of the cooperative and leverage members’ savings to access formal financial products. However the uptake of these solutions remains limited due to perceived risk around ineffective communication mechanisms with farmer organizations and their lack of sufficient governance practices.
In Rwanda, FtMA is the only initiative in the maize sector to have connected farmers through forward delivery contracts to the largest commodity buyers in the country. FtMA Rwanda is making present financial solutions scalable through introducing third party guarantors and training farmer organizations on governance and financial practices. The commitment of buyers is further being strengthened through the promotion of increased adoption of advanced post- harvest handling and storage technologies among farming communities. FtMA Rwanda is bridging the gap between buyers and producers to maximize financial returns for all value chain actors without sacrificing commercial viability.