FAO in Rwanda

FAO to identify priority areas of interventions in Rwanda in new project

A woman in rural Rwanda weeds a Chill field in Bugesera. ©FAO/Teopista Mutesi

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a project that will produce climate-relevant baseline information and the identification of priority actions in the country. The project will also capitalize on the previously implemented projects on irrigation management technologies and amplify on those results.

The 2 year project titled “Reducing climate vulnerabilities of the agriculture sector: Baselines and informed priority actions”, will document; natural resources availability and agricultural use in the selected areas documented; innovative, agro-ecologically appropriate and climate-resilient practices are piloted in selected areas, as well as priority actions and lessons documented for climate-resilient agriculture development.

It is also being implemented in three countries: Burundi, Djibouti and Rwanda. In Djibouti, the project will intervene in water salinity, while in Burundi it is related to restoration of degraded land.

Paving way for investment

The expected up to date baselines and informed priority actions identified will be key to leveraging investments to address barriers that sustain repeatedly high agriculture-related impacts of climatic variability and change.

The Eastern Africa sub-region has experienced several climate-induced shocks. The average decadal number of people affected by droughts and water scarcity has been multiplied seven folds between 1981 and 2011, and continues to rise.

Floods and landslides are also frequently experienced and, although affecting a lesser number of people, they have caused more casualties and damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. Such high impacts are mostly amplified by factors such as, inadequate agricultural practices, pressure on natural resources and subsequent environmental degradation; inadequate investments for infrastructure and technology development; and the climate vulnerability of rainfed agriculture, which sustains livelihoods of over 60% of the population.

Addressing the above issues in a sustainable manner requires a huge mobilization of financial resources, which in turn requires evidence-based programming. Unfortunately, evidence remains limited to inform such programmes in agriculture and climate change sectors.

RUZIBIZA Emile is the head of department of Land Husbandry and Irrigation Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB). He said that the baseline information will help his office in accurate planning.

“The knowledge, commitment and information that will be collected will capacitate us to know activities and the budget needed to avoid duplication of interventions, and to do resource mobilization”, he said.

Water to feed billions of people

The world will have to increase food production if it is to feed the 9 billion people by 2050. Agriculture is responsible for using 70 percent of the water abstraction, yet the resource is vulnerable to more droughts and more floods and also rainfall variability.

Ruhiza Jean Boroto, is the Senior Land and water officer, in the FAO land and water division. He said the project will prove that there are solutions that can be implemented to yield result to facilitate bigger investments.

“Considering the context of climate change we’re faced with and increasing world population we have to feed, we have to come up with innovative solutions related to water, soil and land management and irrigation technologies. Rwanda is not a dry country but face droughts. We should develop strategies to help countries cope with such droughts to reduce the vulnerability of the people,” said Boroto.

Ensuring successful solutions

Traditionally for any solution to work, people involved have to take ownership while policy makers provide environment for innovative solutions to be mainstreamed in relevant strategies and policies.

At the end of the project, there will be sharing of knowledge with other countries through the testing of climate-resilient agricultural technologies that have demonstrated their efficiency in similar agro-ecologies from the sub-region or elsewhere.


Teopista Mutesi | Communications Specialist | Email: Teopista.Mutesi@fao.org OR FAO-RW@fao.org