RWARRI THEMATIC AREAS
The goal of the Rwandan economy is to improve human well-being and quality of life sustainability. Many community members seek opportunities to be created, taking away bottlenecks that prevent them from using their human and economic potential to the fullest. They will then move out of the vicious cycle of poverty and become productive economic actors. Market access is an opportunity for smallholders farmers to access high prices for the product and take advantage of benefits across the value chain.
RWARRI Major’s contribution under the thematic area include:
- Increase production of selected staple crops, fruits, and vegetables by smallholders farmers, thus increasing household incomes; in consideration of the export if the quality and quantity rise;
- Intensive commercial farming using irrigation and rainwater harvesting techniques enable farmers to produce throughout the year leading to economic sustainability;
- Raising the skills levels of smallholders farmers in business and value addition of agricultural products. Presently most agricultural produce is sold immediately at harvested in its raw nature, but with added skills, farmers can now process their crops and fetch more income from that;
- Promotion of group activities as opposed to individual enterprises. It is easier to support groups than individuals. Also, groups of farmers have higher bargaining power for their goods than an individual – so they can dictate their prices, and the middlemen will have no choice but to buy the produce at that price;
- Promotion of soil and water conservation techniques as part of the implementation strategy of the land consolidation policy;
- Creation of linkages between smallholders farmers and various financial institutions; the farmers will also be encouraged to pull their money together and start their micro-finance or saving groups to save and borrow money to boost their farming business further.
Rwanda’s food security challenges are realities. Food insecurity is because most of the agriculture today is still rain-fed. Introducing rainwater harvesting as well as irrigation of crops can significantly enhance food security. Improving the smallholders farmers living conditions goes with the protection of the environmental and natural resources.
RWARRI intervenes for this thematic area by:
- Construct of rainwater harvesting structures and training on maintenance and use of the same. Usually, there is a lot of runoff during any downpour. In the absence of control and no measures in place, a significant cause of soil erosion in most areas appears. This water, if well conserved, can be utilized for irrigation, especially during the dry season;
- Promote tree planting initiatives emphasizing agroforestry species and conservation of the soils by applying good agricultural practices like Conservation Agriculture;
- Promote irrigation farming at the household level and producing vegetables under greenhouses;
- Build the capacity and the knowledge of smallholders farmers to cope with climate change.
The importance of food and agriculture to Rwanda is indisputable. About 80% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, contributing to about 43% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Rwanda is trying to position itself as the “kitchen of the region.” Agricultural mechanization will significantly enhance agricultural production by saving operational time, especially among smallholders farmers, reducing poverty levels by a wide margin.
Under the thematic area, the organization contributes by:
- Increase the use of ICT in agriculture and agro-processing to promote quality of produce, ease communication, and easy access to the market, thereby increasing competitiveness;
- Smallholders farmers receive training on the importance and use of ICT in financial services, marketing services, bookkeeping, water harvest, and post-harvest infrastructure. The knowledge ensures early preparation of land for planting various crops, timely harvesting, and high-quality crop production, leading to good storage and processing techniques. Technical skills, in turn, increase crop yields and ultimately increased incomes for the rural households;
- Smallholders farmers receive appropriate training that enables them to start small mechanization units to assemble and service all the agricultural equipment and machines in the locality.
Many small-holders farmers are increasingly benefiting from increased income as a result of linking them to markets. A deliberate effort has been made to raise awareness on productively re-investing the additional benefits. Literacy training emphasizes as a means to access the markets. Information is crucial because most smallholder farmers in Rwanda own mobile phones and should learn to use them as critical business tools by comparing prices across markets before choosing where to sell their produce.
Major planned activities include:
- Capacity building in modern nutrition, hygiene, water, and sanitation includes training on the establishment of kitchen gardens, poultry, and rabbit production. A healthy population is central to sustainable development;
- Introduction of a balanced diet to reduce malnutrition and stunting among children, breastfeeding, and pregnant mothers. By encouraging the rearing and eating of the small animals among smallholders’ homes improve and curb sickness;
- Track the implementation of various government policies and strategies to better nutrition and health. Many well-written policies and strategies already exist in Rwanda, but their contents are generally known to a few people (especially leaders). Apart from making the community members aware of such policies and strategies, RWARRI also ensures that these policies and strategies are implemented successfully among the target communities.
Institutional Strengthening & Capacity Enhancement
RWARRI permanently increases the capacity of its staff member to deliver serve the Rwandan population and smallholder farmers in particular positively through requisite institutional arrangements and members capacity. All core activities under this Programme shall derive from and support systematic capacity building of the Secretariat team, the Executive Committee, RWARRI members, and Programme beneficiaries. The organization focuses on acquiring sufficient fiscal resources, adequate equipment and facilities, and permanent office space.
In contribution to the thematic area, RWARRI undertake:
- Development and implementation of a communication strategy include hiring a communications expert, redesigning and updating the organization’s website, documentation of best practices, and all other activities that contribute towards visibility for the organization. Secondly, the two-way communication channel has been reinforced so that information is shared and acted upon promptly and staff are aware of any relevant decisions made that could affect them either directly or indirectly
- RWARRI develops and applies strategies that enable the organization to hire qualified staff and retain them for long periods; this includes offering competitive salary packages to staff and, more importantly, constantly building the capacity of those staff for them to deliver timely and quality work. RWARRI also acquires additional vehicles and equipment as part of strengthening the institutional output;
- A close follow up of all projects has been initiated to ensure efficiency and effectiveness with clear monitoring indicators in place; reports from evaluations and reviews will be disseminated to all concerned parties;
- RWARRI has a fundraising strategy in place as part of the overall organizational sustainability strategy. An appendix to this strategy is to build staff capacity so that they can develop fundable/attractive project proposals.