FAO in Rwanda

FAO to strengthen Rwanda’s capacities on sustainable soil management

New project to balance fertilization to improve food production and soil health

A farmer applies fertilizer ready to plant potatoes in rural Musanze, Rwanda. ©Teopista Mutesi

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a project that will support the country to improve fertilizer recommendations.

The two-year project “Capacity Development on sustainable Soil Management for Africa (2) – Rwanda” will develop fertilizer recommendations adapted to the local crops and soil requirements for improvement of food production and soil health.

Rwanda's fertilizer use per hectare in 2019/20 is 46.4 Kg/ha, and 46 percent of the farmers use agricultural inputs including fertilizers.

“This project will contribute to development of soil experimental data and laboratory to help farmers and stakeholders to make informed decisions,” said Charles Bucagu, Deputy Director General, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board. 

Introducing fertilizer recommendations that have worked

The FAO Representative in Rwanda, Gualbert Gbehounou, said that improving fertilizer recommendations for farmers is essential to increase food security for smallholder farmers.

“The expected impact of the project is to improve income, food security and nutrition, as well as improve environmental and human wellbeing through the sustainable management of soil resources in Rwanda,” said Gualbert.

The project will introduce efficient soil testing and fertilizer recommendations that have been successfully developed and implemented in the Chinese agricultural sectors.

In addition to assisting to build an efficient soil and fertilizer laboratory, the project will establish a set of soil fertility and fertilizer database, establish a regional system on scientific fertilization extension service, and develop capacities of the stakeholders through an online soil education platform (EduSOILS).

It is financially funded by China through the South-South and Triangular Cooperation framework aimed to share from the South to developing countries development solutions that have been tested and proven effective.

“South-South and Triangular Cooperation can support southern countries by sharing technologies, expertise, experiences through technical demonstration and capacity development. We committed to do our best to facilitate smooth implementation of this project through cooperation with stockholders in Rwanda,” said Jinbiao Wang, FAO Senior Programme Officer of South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division.

“Soil erosion could lead to soil infertility, therefore make soils and agriculture system with poor productivity and endanger our food security, then negatively impact the development of the country. Capacity building on soils could significantly improve the sustainable soil management as well as agriculture in the country,” said Jiaxin Wang, Economic and Commercial counselor of Chinese Embassy to Rwanda.

The results of this project could also be used to help the country to improve fertilizer supply chain, to promote local fertilizer market. An increase in productivity, without impairing soil health, could contribute to reduce poverty, enhance food and nutrition security. 

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