Sustaining the way forward for agriculture within the land of a thousand hills | FAO

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The Rulindo district of Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, is a mannequin for a extra built-in manner of supporting native growth and sustainable intensification of agriculture. It takes a holistic method of utilizing pure sources sustainably whereas additionally growing incomes for farmers, creating extra resilient livelihoods and enhancing the standard of individuals’s diets. With the assistance of FAO and its companions, Fonerwa (an funding fund for inexperienced initiatives in Rwanda) and Vegetable and Flowers Farmers Cooperatives, the Rulindo district has created 4 815 new jobs, put aside 1 830 hectares of land for fruit manufacturing and agroforestry, utilized 9 water ponds for each a fish farming programme and sources of irrigation, and developed 1 950 hectares of progressive terraces. FAO hopes to copy this profitable mannequin for its programmes in different areas of Africa and the world. 

The Rulindo district in Rwanda has lots to show us about the way forward for agriculture. The native authorities and FAO have teamed as much as show what a holistic, sustainable method to agriculture seems to be like in apply. Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, has big agricultural potential. In its mountainous areas, the cool local weather and ample rainfall lend themselves nicely to rising a variety of crops from espresso and tea, to potatoes and bananas.

On the similar time, it faces many challenges. Run-off from its steep hills has contributed to soil loss and erosion. Intense agricultural exercise has precipitated soil degradation; a booming inhabitants means extra mouths to feed, and a decline within the amount and high quality of water is placing agriculture and livelihoods in danger.

Holistic method
The advantages of a holistic, sustainable method are actually evident in Rulindo. By merging the priorities and work plans of various governmental departments, the method introduced collectively programmes that have been by no means linked earlier than. This has triggered higher dialogue between ministries and contributed to formulating programmes that higher take note of the connection between pure sources and agriculture.

Incorporating finest practices from previous FAO-supported nation initiatives such because the Kagera TAMP (the Kagera Transboundary Agro-Ecosystem Administration Venture), the Rulindo district is finishing up sustainable land administration practices, akin to terracing, and increasing on them. Different initiatives being carried out in Rulindo embody agroforestry practices, soil and water conservation, built-in soil fertility administration, crop-livestock integration, river financial institution safety and hands-on studying via Farmer Discipline Faculties. 

Constructing on previous initiatives
Higher managing and conserving the water that flows within the Yanze River is one among these initiatives. The Yanze is the primary supply of water for Rwanda’s capital Kigali and for a lot of the district. It’s a very important supply of life and livelihoods.

Nevertheless, its fixed flooding, exacerbated by local weather change and the ensuing risky climate circumstances, dangers washing away beneficial soil and threatens agriculture. Moreover, siltation attributable to poor land administration and uncontrolled water extraction results in water shortages within the dry seasons.

To deal with these points, FAO has helped farmers to plant 27 kilometres of bamboo on the banks of the Yanze. Bamboo bushes improve the soundness of river banks, cease soil loss and, as an additional advantage, they supply new merchandise for farmers to promote at native markets. Bamboo can be utilized for firewood and constructing supplies or can be utilized for making crafts.

Addressing soil loss first helps to safeguard the advances made in agriculture. With this in place, Rulindo has additionally carried out varied options to soil degradation akin to  intercropping and agroforestry, the apply of incorporating forests and shrubs on farm land.

Altering habits
With new companions, akin to Fonerwa, and Vegetable and Flowers Farmers Cooperatives, the district has helped to encourage farmers to strive extra revolutionary practices and develop totally different sorts of crops. These partnerships created 4 815 new jobs, put aside 1 830 hectares of land for fruit manufacturing and agroforestry, utilized 9 water ponds to function each a fish farming programme and as a supply of irrigation and developed 1 952 hectares of progressive terraces (terraces which are constructed over a number of years via enhanced farming practices).

Offering new meals merchandise, akin to mushrooms and pulses, additionally helps to handle the dietary wants of the inhabitants. Pulses are wealthy in protein and generally is a good various to animal merchandise. 

Placing all of it collectively
With FAO’s help, Rulindo has additionally not too long ago constructed a market, an integral part of the worth chain, to promote regionally produced greens and flowers. Folks and companies from all around the area come to purchase merchandise, which now now not have to be shipped to different markets. Which means much less meals is misplaced whereas being transported, particularly in an space the place there’s usually insufficient infrastructure. As well as, ladies, who’re the first sellers of the products, now not have to journey to Kigali, which saves them time for different duties.

A task mannequin for the area, Rulindo’s success holds many classes for different international locations in Africa and internationally. FAO continues to help built-in, farm-to-fork, sustainability tasks across the globe. 


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