Rwanda’s agriculture sector is steadily growing at 5.8% per year. Currently, it accounts for about 33% of GDP, employs about 68% of the labor force, and generates 90% of national food requirements. Around half of the country is covered by hills, and between them are streams and marshlands with 589,711 hectares of irrigation potential, but only 7.5% has been successfully developed to date. Droughts or short heavy rains often cause flash flooding and low productivity, with most rain-fed agricultural production worsened by the impacts of climate change. To sustain cultivation and productivity on such steep slopes, comprehensive climate smart watershed management has become a necessity, not a choice.
SAIP strengthens the capacities of existing farmer organizations and public extension services; strengthens agricultural value chains; emphasizes post-harvest handling, processing, and marketing systems and linkages with the private sector; and scales up irrigation activities and increases irrigation outreach, thereby increasing the availability and consumption of nutritional foods, diversifying income generation means, and supporting rural financial institutions to provide services. The project focuses on strengthening value chains, including vegetables and fruits for the domestic, regional, and international markets; maize and Irish potato for domestic and regional markets; and beans for domestic markets. To improve nutrition outcomes, the project collaborates with the Government’s National Early Childhood Development Program and community health workers to implement a nutrition social and behavioral change communication (SBCC) strategy, using cooking demonstrations to educate communities on how to attain a balanced and affordable diet.
- World Bank
As of December 2021, SAIP has benefitted 191,620 people, 43% of them women, against an end of project target of 200,000. SAIP also has provided improved production support to 7,829 hectares of land area and productivity enhancement support to 38,324 smallholders and has supported the reconstruction or rehabilitation of two maize-drying shelters and 10 cold rooms as a part of the post-harvest support, contributing 15,860 metric tons of agricultural production processing. To enhance farmers’ skills and crop productivity, the project has facilitated a training of trainers on good agriculture practices and seed multiplication to 1,639 lead farmers (43.2% women) from 18 cooperatives that grow Irish potato, beans, maize, onions, watermelon, tomatoes, and chilis. The combination of training and technical coaching provided through partnerships with Rwanda Youth Agribusiness Forum, World Food Programme (WFP), and buyers has seen productivity of Irish potatoes rise from 13.8 to 14.97 tons per hectare, maize from 2.2 to 2.8 tons per hectare, and beans from 1.2 to 1.8 tons per hectare.
On the nutrition front, 2,106 project beneficiaries have taken part in activities rolled out under the SBCC strategy, with 166,291 people receiving improved nutrition services and products. SAIP has promoted the production of mushrooms rich in potassium, zinc, and iron by providing spawns to 452 households with pregnant and lactating women and children under five years of age. To promote climate smart agriculture practices, the project has helped install 36 greenhouse structures, including six for demonstration purpose and 30 acquired by project beneficiaries through matching grant scheme. Further, SAIP has continued to strengthen the capacities of water user associations to ensure their sound management and adequate scheme operation and maintenance. As a result, since July 2020, the number of farmers paying water fees increased from 1% to 68.2% and voluntary community works to maintain schemes have slowly resumed by following measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Additional Financing Documents:
Official Project Documents:
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- Kubwimana records increased yield after turning to greenhouse farming
- Farmers embrace greenhouse farming, thanks to SAIP support
- Cultivation of High Value export crops in Muyanza site-Rulindo District
- Felician Sebahire reaping big from horticulture farming