World Agroforestry Centre

A new agroforestry project in Rwanda will apply trees on farms to further bolster the country’s gains in achieving long-term food security. On 9th August, Rwanda’s Natural Resources Management Minister Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi joined 55 project team members to launch the new initiative,Trees for Food Security, at a workshop convened by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Rwanda Agriculture Board, and partners.

The four-year, four-country action research project will be carried out in Rwanda and Ethiopia initially, and expand to Burundi and Uganda starting 2014. Funded largely by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), it will be implemented by a multidisciplinary partnership of international and national institutions, including three CGIAR Consortium Research Centers (World Agroforestry Centre, CIMMYT and ILRI), CSIRO, World Vision, and partner-country national agricultural research centres and universities.

Minister Kamanzi said the Rwandan government recognized the role of agroforestry in boosting the productivity and resilience of agricultural land. “The Trees for Food Security project’s objectives are in tune with Rwanda’s development agenda on farming, food security and natural resources management,” he said.

According to recent statistics, by 2011 just three out of the Rwanda’s 30 districts faced any level of food insecurity. Nonetheless, the minister observed that Rwanda’s undulating topography, found on around 80% of the farmland, is prone to soil erosion and landslides that remove the fertile volcanic topsoil, leaving farmers vulnerable to low yields. Furthermore, although rainfall is generallypredictable and plentiful in most areas, changing global climate has caused periods of drought to become more frequent in the country. “The new project will support the government’s efforts to ensure enough food supply for all citizens and build our environmental resilience,” he said.

In his message to the workshop, ICRAF director general Dr. Tony Simons said the Rwandan government’s confidence in the benefits of agroforestry, gained through experience, was a great asset to the project. “The new project will use the proven ability of trees on farms to combat erosion, fertilize soil, raise crop yields, improve household nutrition and income, and contribute to climate-change preparedness,” he stated.  Read more…