Rwandan agriculture

Of the many tragic legacies that the civil war in Rwanda have had for the country, the effect of the conflict on Rwandan agriculture has developed in unexpected ways. A report from showed that during the civil war, historical climate data were significantly compromised. As a result, farmers have faced increased risk of crop failures due to droughts, flooding, and other damaging weather patterns.

The Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project aims to bolster Rwandan agriculture by filling in gaps in Rwanda’s climate data records and disseminating meteorological data to farmers, according to a report from the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).

The report goes on to explain that this project will expand upon elements of the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) approach, which is already being implemented in eight African countries. ENACTS connects satellite data with on-the-ground station observation from Rwanda’s National Meteorological Agency (Meteo-Rwanda), and provides to farmers the information gathered therefrom via “maprooms.” These maprooms are publicly accessible websites providing dynamically updated information on weather patterns such as temperature and rainfall, according to the Meteo-Rwanda website.

Furthermore, the project builds upon the Participatory Integrated Climate Services (PICSA) approach, which entails integrating NGOs and agricultural extension staff with local farming communities. With easy access to climate data, Meteo-Rwanda’s maprooms will expedite this process by giving intermediaries more accurate and timely information about the ares where they will need to function.

According to the CCAFS, the project aims to provide climate data to one million farmers.

Given the importance of Rwandan agriculture in the local economy, this project represents an important step forward in repairing the damage of the civil war. According to, agriculture accounts for one third of Rwanda’s GDP, and eight out of 10 Rwandans are employed in agriculture. Thus, softening the impact of flooding and drought will provide significant economic benefits the country.

Peter Della-Rocca

Photo: Flickr

Heifer International follows the “teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime” philosophy.

The charity organization teaches families living in hunger and poverty how to practice sustainable agriculture and trade. Heifer International provides livestock and other agricultural resources that support financial independence. It also works with public and private partners to ingrain the entrepreneurial drive into the hearts of many developing nations.

Founded in 1944 by Dan West, Heifer is an exemplar in the fight against global poverty.

So far, Heifer has joined forces in more than 125 countries, helping more than 22.6 million families break the cycle of poverty.

In investing in local economies, Heifer has had incredible success.

In 2013, Heifer instituted its Global Impact Monitoring System that collects reference data related to its development work. With this system, the impact is more greatly measurable. This “values-based” system monitors all projects at the group-level and global-level. Heifer further reviews its work by evaluating its projects on five key elements: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability.

Heifer projects cover Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The Sahel Program in Africa develops local livestock production in the Sahel region. By providing sheep and goats, the program will impact 516,000 families between 2014 and 2024. The goal is to build resilient and sustainable farming livelihoods.

The Southern Africa Goat Value Chain Program targets food and income security by establishing producers associations, cooperative management and market infrastructures, according to the Heifer site.

The Africa Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation (ACCAM) Program also tackles food security. On the Heifer website, the ACCAM profile lists its goals: creating adaptive climate resilient food systems, increased access to renewable energies, sustainable management of natural resources, increased access to water for agricultural production, sanitation and hygiene, and increased women’s participation in control of resources, leadership and decision-making.

In Asia, Heifer launched similar value chain programs in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam. They focus on increasing supplies and management of local commodities such as beef, dairy, goat, swine, chicken and other staple foods.

The GANASOL Agricultural and Livestock Program in Central and South America connects local farmers to market resources. The PROMESA Coffee and Cocoa Program revolves around the coffee, cocoa, cardamom and honey value chains. The PROCOSTA Coastal and Mangrove Ecosystems program addresses climate change, income and food security, and the subsequent issues that affect the mangrove and coastal zones.

This work continues in several other programs, all of which foster self-reliant livelihoods in primarily agriculturally dependent regions.

Heifer International believes in achieving zero hunger by supporting small-scale farmers.

Lin Sabones

Sources: Heifer, Vimeo
Photo: The Global Journal