The InnovAfrica project was launched in Rwanda during a meeting that took place from 22-25 August 2017. The aim of the kick-off meeting was to familiarize all Rwanda-based participants in the project with the implementation plan as well as to provide a platform for networking among the diverse stakeholder groups.

Communal cow shed_Nasho Rwanda
A communal cattle shed in Nasho sector, Kirehe District, eastern Rwanda (photo: Rwanda Agriculture Board)

Participants representing Kirehe district in eastern and Nyamagabe district in southern Rwanda identified project implementation sites in their respective districts based on agricultural potential and existing institutional frameworks. In Kirehe district, two adjoining sectors, Nasho and Mpanga, were selected where 80 percent of the farmers are smallholders with average land sizes of 0.7ha. The dairy, maize, sorghum, banana, soybean, bean, fish and coffee value chains were selected for inclusion in the project.

From Nyamagabe district, Cyanika sector was selected for the project implementation. On average, farmers in this sector own less than 0.5ha and practice semi-intensive or intensive farming. Cyanika is characterized by acidic soils on steep sloped topography. Crop and livestock farming are well integrated in this sector and terracing is common. The main values chains included in the project in Cyanika are forages (Brachiaria, Chloris gayana, Napier grass), sorghum, beans, coffee, cassava and forest products.

Following two days’ discussions, participants took a field trip to Nasho and Mpanga sectors of Kirehe district. The farms visited demonstrated the need for improved forages as well as opportunities to improve the quality of crop residues.