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Beware fake Rwanda agriculture ministry Facebook page offering financial aid

IN SHORT: Farmers and other agribusinesses in Rwanda would welcome much-needed capital, but the Facebook page is only impersonating the country’s ministry of agriculture.

The Facebook page “Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources Minagri” is asking farmers, agribusinesses and other companies to apply for “financial aid”. 

Its most recent post reads: “TO ALL FARMERS In partnership with Farmers Business Network and IFAD, we offer financial aid to all Farmers, Agri-businesses and Business Development Companies with the good business relationship with the small holder farmers to help us fight hunger and poverty. Interested individuals who wish to benefit from this funding program are invited to submit their applications here.”

The link leads to a Google form that asks applicants to fill in personal details, describe what kind of farming they practise and how much money they need.

In other posts, the page, which has an official logo, shows the agriculture minister, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, and Dr Ildephonse Musafiri, a minister in the unit, during official engagements in Rwanda and abroad.

The top left of the Google form carries the branding of Rwanda’s Vision 2050. This seeks to push the country into upper middle-income status by 2035, and to high middle-income status by 2050.

Rwanda has in recent years experienced severe drought, leading to policies and projects to improve food security. So a call to help farmers and businesses financially would be well received.

But is the page legitimate?

FinancialAid_Scam

Signs page is fake

The call for applications is poorly worded, which would be unusual for an official government message. 

We checked the Rwandan agriculture ministry’s website and found no mention of such an offer of financial help.

The transparency section of the “Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources Minagri” page shows it was created on 3 October 2022 - the same date as all the posts on its timeline. 

The page also has only 22 followers, a small number for such a key ministry. It is also unverified, and the people who manage it are in Kenya.

Ignore fake page

On the other hand, the official Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) Facebook page is verified. It has 10,000 followers, was created on 22 June 2011, and those who manage it are in Rwanda.

We did not find an offer of financial help among its posts.

Instead, we found a 28 October 2022 post flagging the call for applications for financial aid as “FAKE”. It also attached screenshots of the suspicious page.

The post reads: FAKE NEWS Dear all, please ignore this circulating call for applications. Be informed that MINAGRI is not associated with it. KWAMAGANA IBIHUHA Turamenyesha abantu bose ko ntawe ukwiye kwita kuri ubu butumwa busaba gutanga amakuru ngo ubone inkunga! Ni ikinyoma.”

The Kinyarwanda translates as: “DISCLAIMER OF RUMORS We inform everyone that no one should pay attention to this message asking for information to get support! It is a lie."

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