FAO in Rwanda

Success stories

Farmer Field Schools catalyzing Positive Change in Ngoma, Kirehe, and Nyaruguru Districts

Uwibambe Rachel (Left) with members of her family. ©FAO/Phillipe Rutaganza

Farmers in the Ngoma, Kirehe, and Nyaruguru districts are experiencing the positive impact of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) on their agricultural production and overall well-being. The Rural Women's Economic Empowerment (RWEE) initiative, in partnership with INADES and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has established several FFS in these districts.

Uwibambe Racheal, a forty-two-year-old mother of four and a member of a farmer field school (FFS) from Saruhembe Cell, Mahama Sector in Kirehe District, shared how the skills and knowledge gained from participating in FFS learning activities have enabled her to optimize crop cultivation and diversification, select appropriate seeds, manage planting spacing, ensure good soil health, and monitor crop growth meticulously. By adopting these practices, Uwibambe emphasized the positive impact on her family's nutrition, providing a balanced diet.

The RWEE project aims to combat malnutrition through improved farming techniques that have been tested and validated in FFS. Also, it addresses social and economic issues that affect households, such as gender-based violence. For example, Rukomeza Emile, from Kiremera Cell in Kirehe District, overcame alcohol-related conflicts with his wife through conflict management classes offered under the RWEE project. Upon attending these training sessions, Rukomeza decided to quit alcohol, leading to improved family relationships and collaboration in farming decisions.

The RWEE project integrates sustainable agricultural training with life skills education. Participants learn farming practices, soil health, seed selection, nutrition, hygiene, conflict resolution, and financial management. The project has established avocado nurseries and distributed over 61,828 avocado seedlings to enhance training and contribute to agricultural productivity.

Josepha Mukamana, who is leading the project at FAO, expressed her optimism about the project's profound impact, especially on the livelihoods of rural women. The project's main objective is to enhance food and nutrition security, increase the productive potential and income opportunities for female farmers, promote women in leadership roles, and encourage their participation in policy formulation. The FFS methodology empowers rural women by providing them with practical skills and knowledge in sustainable agriculture production, entrepreneurial and leadership capacities, and awareness of gender equality and women's rights. Ultimately, the FFS program aims to empower rural women to become role models, share their knowledge and skills with others, contribute to improved livelihoods, and reduce rural poverty, aligning with Rwanda's long-term development priorities.

The RWEE project is jointly implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

For Further Information, please contact:

Marie Claire Muneza

Head of Communications

Email: [email protected]



Farmers in Nyagatare and Burera Acknowledge DeSIRA's Contribution to Enhancing Forage Varieties for Improved Milk Production.

Milk products from Farmers. ©FAO/Phillipe Rutaganza

Farmers in Nyagatare District, a pivotal region targeted by the Capacity Development for Innovations (CDI) project funded through the DeSIRA initiative, are extending their gratitude for the transformative impact on forage varieties leading to increased milk production. This notable progress is attributed to a successful collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rwanda and the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).

Charles Mugabo, the manager of Terimbere Milk Collection Centre from Nyagatare District, indicated that 215 members of this cooperative were trained by the DeSIRA project on how to plant and take care of the new forage species, and RAB came in to distribute the newly selected forage species to increase and improve milk production.

“DeSIRA, in collaboration with RAB, worked with us to introduce five improved forage species (Chloris sp, Brachiaria, Basilisk, Sabia, and Piata, as you can see here. As cooperative management, we distribute these new species to members of our cooperatives and follow up closely to make sure that they are planted following the required standards. The introduction of these new species has significantly improved our daily milk production. We thank the DeSIRA project and RAB for this support,” Mugabo noted. 

Shema Godfrey, a cattle keeper from Karangazi Sector, Nyagatare District, shared the positive impact of the training on cattle management practices provided by the DeSIRA project.

Shema highlighted how the training facilitated their access to and cultivation of new forage varieties, subsequently leading to a remarkable improvement in cattle production. Specifically, the cooperative planted three distinct varieties: Chloris sp, Brachiaria sp, and Basilisk.

After incorporating these new forage varieties into the cattle diet, Shema observed a significant boost in milk production.

He cited a compelling example: "The cow that we used to milk 10 litres per day can now produce up to 15 litres after feeding on these new species." This substantial increase in milk output signifies a positive shift in cattle productivity and a notable improvement in the income generated from milk sales.” Shema noted.

Piggery is also one of the value chains under the CDI project. Hydroponic technology and Black soldier larvae farming were also established in the Rutsiro district to increase meat production under this value chain, providing pigs with proteins and highly nutritious fodder.

Margarita Mungu Amurinde, a pig farmer from Kivumu Sector in Rutsiro District, shared her experiences with the DeSIRA project, emphasizing the valuable skills acquired that have significantly enhanced her pig farming endeavours.

Margarita highlighted the incorporation of hydroponic technology into their farming practices, noting its role in increasing the protein and vitamin content of pig feed. This, in turn, contributes to substantial weight gain in the pigs, ultimately boosting meat production. She credited DeSIRA for providing crucial insights and techniques that enhance the overall quality of pig farming and contribute to the endeavour's economic efficiency.

 "Thanks to DeSIRA, we were trained on how to inseminate our pigs, a service that would otherwise be costly if provided by a veterinarian. Additionally, we learned how to leverage hydroponic technology, making adding nutritional value to the feeds easier and increasing piggery production. Furthermore, we've shared these skills with our fellow villagers, empowering them to apply the same techniques in their pig farming practices." Margarita concluded.

Hagenimana Gregoire, a principal investigator of the DeSIRA project based at RAB, indicated that the main objective of this project is to scale climate-smart innovation approaches to improve the well-being of farmers.

“The main objective of this initiative is to scale up innovations, including climate-smart varieties in the area of livestock, including improving artificial insemination with new bleeds in pigs and cattle and developing protein-rich feeds to improve productivity and quality of livestock products. I am sure you have witnessed how this has improved the two value chains in Nyagatare for cattle and Rutsiro for pigs, respectively”.  Gregoire highlighted.

The established demonstration plots and farmer field schools will continue to facilitate the adoption of different innovations that will help farmers adopt the use of improved varieties, improve agricultural practices, and subsequently improve their well-being through improved incomes.

DeSIRA project seeks to create an enabling environment for farmers to do farming as a profitable business by improving incomes and building their resilience to climate and economic shocks. The project interventions align with the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, nutrition, environment, and life, leaving no one behind.


For Further Information, please contact:

Marie Claire Muneza

Head of Communications

Email: [email protected]


RWEE project improving the entrepreneurial potential of rural women in Rwanda

Maria Mukamana is engaged in grafting and seed multiplication of fruit trees and trees in her rural area in Nyagisozi sector, Nyaruguru district. This kind of work was long considered by the rural women to be a man’s work and for those who had gone to school. The mother of three children of ages between 25 years and 4 years old, multiplies and grafts seeds of Eucalyptus, Pawpaw, Avocado, mango, and tree tomato. Her nursery beds now have about 120 000 fruit and tree seedlings.


FAO’s efforts continue to improve nutrition in Rural Rwanda

Alvera Nyiransengimana, a mother of three children received a dairy goat, a pig, and the training and inputs needed to build a kitchen garden, through the Joint One UN nutrition Project “Accelerating stunting reduction amongst under-two children in Rwanda” to fight malnutrition and accelerate the reduction of stunting. Through this garden she and her family now have access to fresh, nutritious vegetables such as cabbages, onions, carrots, Amaranth, spinach, mushrooms, and eggplant every day, which protects her family from diseases. She is now able to prepare a balanced diet of vegetables, potatoes, beans, and ground nuts. And get manure from the animals to apply to my garden and get increased productivity. Her children are no longer in the red line indicating malnutrition.


Trying out the net - Supporting the fisherwomen of Nkombo, Rwanda

“Women” and “fishing” are two words that would not have been used together in the same sentence a few years ago in Rwanda. It has been a long-held belief in Rwanda that fishing is not for women – it is a man’s occupation. Women have mostly embraced this thinking as well, but a few brave women from Nkombo, an island on Lake Kivu in the Rusizi District, are determined to prove that what a man can do, a woman can do too.