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Rwanda STARS: Strengthening African Rural Smallholder Farmers

The Strengthening African Rural Smallholders (STARS) program is a five-year program (2016-2020) implemented by ICCO Cooperation in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Through a market systems development approach it focuses on improving access to finance and markets for 210,000 smallholders in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. In Rwanda, STARS aims to improve access to finance and markets for 49,500 smallholder farmers, impacting a total of 250,000 household members. To this effect, STARS is in partnership with five microfinance institutions (MFIs) and two commercial banks to develop crop-specific loans. At the end of 2019, STARS in Rwanda was well on track to reach its target, with 44,182 farmers already benefiting from crop-specific loans. In addition, it also works with value chain actors (processors, service providers, cooperatives, and unions) to strengthen value chains and access to market opportunities.