Sugar: make it work, a Public Private Partnership

Increasing the output of the sugarcane agriculture in Rwanda through improved water management infrastructure, precision agriculture, capacity development and institutional embedding.

Posted on 6 November 2014


In Rwanda, the sugarcane industry is facing a multitude of challenges. There is a shortage of suitable land available for sugarcane agriculture restricts production and yields are constrained by severe flooding of the Nyaborongo river and the stagnation of water on existing land, forcing Rwanda to import much of its sugar and leaving consumers highly dependent on volatile prices. With a growing population and increasing consumer expenditure, both domestically and regionally, Rwanda risks missing a crucial opportunity to grow a local industry with great potential.

In this Public Private Partnership (PPP) TechForce Innovations is the lead partner in a consortium consisting of Kabuye Sugar Works, HaskoningDHV Nederland, Milan Innovincy, Karisimbi Business Partners, Wageningen University (Department of Environmental Sciences), Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (Centre for Development Innovation), Stichting BiD Network, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources of the Republic of Rwanda. This PPP implements a project with support of the Facility for Food Security and Entrepreneurship (FDOV) which is carried out by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The project’s approach is to develop and implement the following intervention strategies:

  1. Water management: design and implementation of an improved water management solution in the sugarcane marshland, focused on rehabilitating former drainage routes and old river courses to drain the flood plains much faster. By using a ‘building with nature’ approach, the work will have minimal impact on the environment and ongoing maintenance can be managed easily by local farmers.
  2. Precision Agriculture: implementing remote sensing techniques for monitoring the sugarcane development from ‘under the clouds’. Through image analysis and crop growth modelling, the solution provides decision support for the farmers to optimize crop management as well as harvest timing, resulting in higher yields of sugarcane for farmers;
  3. Value chain improvements: Organization of smallholder farmers and increasing the knowledge of local stakeholders by providing tailored training services throughout the sugar value chain. 
  4. Institutional embedding: Aligning government policies with the proposed interventions and ongoing project developments.

As the lead partner in this PPP project, TechForce Innovations is responsible for the overall project management, including project administration and financial management. TechForce Innovations manages on the progress, performance and quality of the project activities, among others the development of operation, maintenance and training plans. Furthermore we take care of communication on and reporting of project updates, within the partnership as well as to Netherlands Enterprise Agency, for which we frequently schedule meetings in the Netherlands and in Rwanda.

The partnership won the 'Public-Private-Partnership Award' 2014. 

For more information on this project, please contact Steven Gajadin,

News items on this project:




The goal of the project is to positively impact the production yields, income and employment as well as strengthen the local capacity throughout the sugar value chain.

The innovative aspect of this PPP is that the Dutch and Rwandese partners combine the intervention strategies which enables a business driven approach to significantly increase the (economic and social) output of sugarcane agriculture. In the long run this will lead to a more competitive, sustainable and inclusive sugarcane value chain in Rwanda.

Project location

Project partners

  • Milan Innovincy
  • Royal HaskoningDHV
  • TechForce Innovations B.V.
  • Wageningen University and Research Center