World Agroforestry meets a major milestone in Rwanda


With an area of 26338 km2 and an estimated population of 9.9 million, the population density of 376 inhabitants per km2, makes Rwanda Africa’s most densely populated country. Although agriculture provides employment to 90% of this population, it accounts for less than 40% of the GDP. Food and cash crop production remains low.


To address this challenges, the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), is keen to transform the promise offered by modern irrigation technology from potential into reality - in its pursuit of food security. MINAGRI commissioned Ebony Logistics Services and Trade Limited, an Israeli firm, to develop an Irrigation Master Plan (IMP) for management of water resources, promotion of irrigation and enhancement of food security. Ebony subsequently subcontracted the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to undertake this task.


The IMP aims for a full, efficient and sustainable exploitation of both surface (runoff, rivers and lakes) and underground water resources by promoting irrigation in its various forms. In so doing, the IMP targets Rwanda’s various practitioners and stakeholders to ensure sustainable production of food, cash, export and industrial crops. 


Since April 2009, The World Agroforestry Centre has been working on Phase 1 of the master plan. This work is a culmination of combined efforts from a range of scientists that include engineers, agronomists, socio-economists, livestock experts, pedologists, hyrologists and geologists.


On the 19th February 2010, Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority, which chairs the Steering Committee for the IMP, officially approved the selection of sites for irrigation design under Phase II of the IMP.  This is a major milestone which in effect is an acknowledgement of the work done in Phase I. In liaison with RADA and MINAGRI, the World Agroforestry is keen to have such endevours captured in various publications.



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