Agroforestry Rwanda:

Improving resilience of farmers’ livelihoods to climate change through innovative, research proven climate-smart agroforestry and efficient use of tree resources in the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali city.

Photo taken by Modest BIZIMANA: Farmer Field School (FFS) Facilitators learning about Agroforestry systems in Gicumbi District, Rwanda

General Objective

The general objective is to increase the pace and scale of agroforestry-based restoration of degraded agricultural lands and sustainable use of biomass energy, with associated improvements of land health, livelihoods, and poverty reduction. The specific objective is to effectively understand and demonstrate the ecological, social, and economic pathways to, and resultant benefits from, the scale up of agroforestry-based restoration and sustainable biomass use in Eastern Province and in the peri-urban Kigali city of Rwanda.

The Theory of Change

The   project   seeks   to   increase   uptake   of innovative agroforestry options by the farmers and foster greater resilience through economic and ecological diversification, generating higher farm productivity and more diversified food through capturing more value from high commercial and nutritious agroforestry products. The project will use an evidence- based approach to generate knowledge and to propose a more diverse portfolio of agroforestry-based landscape restoration options and improved cooking stoves technologies that will suit different landscapes and   households   circumstances   in   Eastern province and peri-urban areas of Kigali city.

The theory of change of the project is built around five interlinked results: (i) Tested knowledge on scalable agroforestry systems and components suited to the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali City from an ecological services perspective (including biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water retention, microclimate and productivity); (ii) Tested and proven knowledge in the further development and diversification of climate resilient, high nutrition value chains from agroforestry landscapes suited to the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali city; (iii) Locally tested expertise and knowledge on high efficient, durable, affordable and user-friendly improved cooking stoves (ICS) and their supply chains in the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali City ; (iv) The most important socio-economic barriers to restoration and adoption of agroforestry practices in the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali City are identified, tackled and new opportunities for economic incentives are implemented; (v) Institutional capacity to create enabling conditions for agroforestry-based landscape restoration and sustainable use of biomass energy enhanced.

Photo taken by Modest BIZIMANA: Farmer Field School (FFS) Facilitators learning about Agroforestry systems in Gicumbi District, Rwanda

Photo taken by Modest BIZIMANA: Farmer Field School (FFS) Facilitators learning about Agroforestry systems in Gicumbi District, Rwanda

The project will carry out research on agroforestry systems including assessment of biophysical conditions and ecosystemic services provision (Result 1), on value chains development and market opportunities to promote high-profitable and nutritious agroforestry products (Result 2) and on the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers, the barriers to adoption of agroforestry and the profitability of agroforestry systems and agroforestry technologies (Result 4). This knowledge will build the foundation for addressing economic, ecological, and behavioral constraints to adoption of agroforestry systems and improved technologies (from production to cooking stoves). The knowledge will be translated into evidence that supports the adaptation, adoption and scaling out of technologies and evidence that inform policy decision in agroforestry-based restoration activities The project will support an explicit gender transformative process, understanding and prioritizing agroforestry-based landscape restoration options that women and young people can benefit from. To be successful, the project will establish partnerships with districts and sectors for incorporating the application of research results in their plans for land restoration and natural resources management. This will increase the involvement and ownership of the local authorities, NGOs, private sectors, and the visibility of the project.

However, it is also assumed that sustainable agroforestry practices by smallholders will be reached out if the present and future availability of biomass energy is used sustainably (Result 3). For this purpose, the project will carry out studies to understand the supply and demand of biomass and analyze the use of current cooking stoves by households and test different option of improved cooking stoves. The project will provide technical assistance and financial support to individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost their expertise through iterative designs, testing and production of locally adapted ICS models.

Also, for ease of understanding and uptake of innovative research results by farmers, private entrepreneurs, and decision-makers, and to further facilitate the adoption of improved agroforestry technologies and innovations, it will be essential that actions are taken to remove the barriers through the development of new opportunities and economic incentives (Result 4). For this purpose, the project will develop transformational mechanisms that incentivize farmers to adopt agroforestry systems and will test different agroforestry extension methods and services.

Based on scientific knowledge and evidence generated, targeted institutional capacity development activities and dissemination of research findings will be done (Result 5), particularly through testing and adapting/ improving the existing agroforestry monitoring and evaluation system in country by involving and promoting active participation of all stakeholders including beneficiary farmer groups in the development of indicators, methods, and monitoring tools.