The Integrated Farm Planning (PIP), is an extension approach that will be piloted by the InnovAfrica project in Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Africa. This approach emphasises on land quality and on building farmers’ stewardship capacities. Hence, the PIP approach builds a solid of healthy land and motivated people, and by means of a dynamic process of vision building, planning, learning and action, it generates an ever-increasing number of proud farmers who are intrinsically motivated to invest in their farms. This approach has been successfully applied in Burundi, and will now be implemented in three InnovAfrica project countries by the local teams.
To prepare a Rwandan team for action on PIP approach, staff of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) were trained in Kigali by experts from Burundi during 11-13th October 2017. The training started with welcoming remarks by Dr. Mupenzi Mutimura, the case country manager for InnovAfrica Project in Rwanda. Next to the trainers from Burundi, other participants were from livestock and socio-economic programmes of RAB, and a M.Sc. student from Wageningen University.
Participants learnt about the history of the PIP approach, how it originated in Bolivia and is currently implemented in Burundi. The approach allows the integration of resources and new ideas during its implementation, and an approach that can change the mind-set of farmers for uptake of technologies and the efficient natural resources management. This also motivates farmers to plan and invest in the future toward sustainable development.
The participants furthermore learnt different phases of the PIP approach. First with the selection of Innovative Farmers and the creation of PIPs: the integrated farm plans. Then next to the PIP competitions between organized groups and the scaling-up of PIP creation at village level. Eventually the extension of PIP to other villages, always based on acting together with a common vision.
During the training, group discussions were held and assignments were given to trainees to compare the PIP approach with the existing extension approaches in Rwanda, and the participants shared the findings in plenary sessions. At the end of the training, the participants elaborated a workplan for PIP implementation in Rwanda, considering the three cropping seasons.
The PIP training at Rwanda was very successful. The participants concluded that the approach is good and can help in the sustainable agricultural intensification in Rwanda. However, the challenge is still how to fully integrate and adapt the PIP approach to the local situation, where many government programmes provide subsidies and other incentives to the participating farmers. A good start has been made in Rwanda and time will tell how this pilot initiative is developed further by RAB.