Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in a Changing Climate in Bugesera District

The three-year (2017-2020) Nordic Climate Fund (NCF) supported project supported green growth for sustainable livelihoods in eight sectors of the Bugesera district of Rwanda, through fruit trees and tree cover, using green irrigation and low carbon technologies, and inspiring smallholder farmers to promote a market oriented climate resilient agriculture.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Rwandan economy, contributing about 39% of the GDP and sustaining most of its rural population. Rwanda is vulnerable to climate change as it relies strongly on rain-fed agriculture. Those at the greatest risk of the effects of climate change are the poor, food insecure and already vulnerable groups. Areas where access to food is most problematic include the Eastern Curve, Bugesera, Southern Plateau and Lake Shore areas where over 45% of the households have reduced access to food.

Bugesera District is located in the densely populated lowlands of the Eastern region, and greatly affected by long periods of drought which tend to become cyclical and persistent. Despite the many water bodies in the region, composed of lakes and rivers, Bugesera has suffered long dry spells with adverse impacts on livelihoods and welfare of the people in the region. Drought, combined with overgrazing and poor cultivation practices, have led to deterioration in pasture and arable lands to the point where many have been abandoned. 

The project aimed to strengthen resilience and address green growth for sustainable livelihoods through increasing fruit tree cover using green, and low carbon technologies, and inspire smallholder farmers to promote a market oriented climate resilient agriculture practice in eight sectors of Bugesera district (Marema, Rweru, Ngeruka, Ruhuha, Kamabuye, Nyarugenge, Rilima and Juru). 

Project Outputs

172,000 drought resistant seedlings will be produced and planted in eight sectors of the Bugesera District. These will consist of indigenous fruit varieties grafted with more productive varieties such as mangoes, oranges and avocado. Other major outputs of the project are:

  1. Increased capacity. 20 Rwandan policy and decision makers from governmental, private organisations and civil society will receive training and increased skills in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  2. 80 trainers of trainers from farming cooperatives trained on awareness creation in climate resilient agriculture; these shall train other beneficiaries.
  3. 8 hectares of fruit trees irrigated with solar powered technologies to demonstrate use of green technologies.
  4. 2000 hectares of land sustainably managed and put to efficient utilization through use of soil water retention practices such as mulching and compost making.
  5. 400 beneficiaries trained in nurturing improved climate resilient fruit seedlings as well as disease and pest control techniques; participants from the trainings of trainers shall progressively train other beneficiaries.